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On November 7, 2016, I found myself briefly locked inside the Peter J. Spinetta Family Law Courthouse.  In a courtroom two doors down from my own, apparently Kimberly Goldman reached her breaking point when the Judge continued her spousal support hearing to a future date. Witnesses reported that she waited near the crosswalk for her estranged husband and two female companions, one who was an employee of Mr. Goldman’s lawyer’s firm, departed from the courthouse. Ms. Goldman struck all three in the crosswalk, and then sped off to the Benecia Bridge a couple of miles away and jumped to her death. (Source http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/11/08/police-lovers-quarrel-didnt-prompt-woman-to-run-down-three-outside-martinez-court/)

It was just a regular morning in family law court until I learned that a woman used her car to hit three people in the crosswalk. After a few weeks of reflecting on this tragedy, I cannot cease wondering how many other Kimberly Goldman’s have I crossed paths with during my career. Many people in divorce struggle with unhealthy coping mechanisms, histories of abuse and untreated emotional health issues. And when their marriage ends, these individuals who struggle with their self-esteem, self-love, and self-sufficiency, are now faced with the potentially devastating losses that a divorce can impose.

The court system is no place for the broken hearted to find solace. For most divorcees, divorce court yields more damage than resolution.   Positions and arguments replace compassion and reason. Spouses take actions under the guise of principal that are really about covering their hurt with anger. Pain needs to be released.  Angry outbursts or frequent trips to the courthouse are ineffective ways to release the pain that is normal and healthy to feel during your divorce.

Help Is Available

I do not pretend to know whether Mrs. Goldman’s attempted homicide and successful suicide could have been prevented. I write this message to speak out in the hopes of reaching one person whose life might be saved. There are support groups, there are therapists, and there are crisis and suicide hotlines. These resources are there to help you get through difficult times.

Divorce Care Group or a Divorce and Relationship Recovery Group are two support groups that can help during this time of transition and recovery. Follow either of the links to find a group meeting near you.

For others, more in-depth psychological work can save you from years of turmoil and repeating patterns that led to your divorce. And for those of you who are alone this holiday season who feel that your situation is hopeless, please don’t give up.  There is hope for you and people who care and understand your pain. You don’t have to face this tragedy alone. If you need help finding a resource, please email me at amanda@jarrattlaw.com. I have a reliable network of support group leaders and therapists who I am glad to refer to you. Need immediate assistance? The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day and can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

To the Goldman family, I don’t know you; however, my heart aches for you. I empathize with the pain, frustration, anger, and grief that you are suffering. May you find peace.

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