When the Truth Hurts

Earlier this month I received a succinct blog post from my esteemed colleague, Bill Levine, of Levine Dispute Resolution Center, LLC in which he described a recent Court decision - Shea v. Cameron - saying, “He lied about loving her. They married. He cheated. She filed for divorce. She withdrew her complaint. She filed a new complaint, this time for annulment. He snapped up that opportunity, only too happy to admit his faux amour.”

Bill was spot on distilling the facts, and they got me to thinking about the importance of pre-thinking how, both as attorneys and clients, we invest our energies, choose and examine our motivations and potential outcomes, seek satisfaction, and choose to proceed as we do.

Along with Ms. Shea’s Complaint for annulment she demanded damages on account of Mr. Cameron’s fraudulent inducement to marry, amongst other legal claims. The case worked its way through the Court system finally winding its way to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which concluded that... “not all human actions in the context of the dissolution of a marriage have an avenue for legal recourse, no matter how much anger, sorrow, or anxiety they cause.” The Court went on to find that although the law provides remedies for married persons when they break up, for equitable property division and support, when the wife chose annulment instead of divorce, she gave up those remedies, since no marriage ever existed, a fiction of her own design.

In essence although Ms. Shea may have thought she made a clever retaliatory move luring Mr. Cameron into admitting his fraudulent behavior, she ultimately gave him a free pass out of their marriage, which makes me wonder if she found any of her actions satisfying. She certainly invested a lot of time, money and energy. Yet despite the judge having accepted as fact that Cameron had made misrepresentations "about the genuineness of his love and commitment to Shea," he concluded as a matter of law that the court was unable to intrude into private and personal relationships and provide remedy for the alleged harms.

I find myself feeling sympathy for Ms. Shea and the fact that she expended so much effort seeking satisfaction from an entity that wasn’t equipped to give her any. Had she and her lawyer examined her motivations and potential outcomes before filing the legal actions they did, perhaps they would have recognized the limitations the law and the Courts could provide for her. Had she paused long enough to consider the underpinnings of her own pain and hurt perhaps she might have been able to distill where she could truly find satisfaction and relief; perhaps a therapist’s office would have been a better place to heal her emotional wounds, and a Courtroom a better venue to remedy any financial losses she could attribute to her failed marriage.

Limitations and benefits abound, and when carefully thought through, boundaries can be overcome and satisfaction can be met.

Note: The Consilium ® Process is founded on the belief that logic and emotions must be distilled, and then combined in order for clients and their families to achieve best outcomes.

© 2019 Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC. Dedham and Northampton, MA
781.708.4445 | 413.341.1017 | Email: wmlevine@levinedisputeresolution.com

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