In ancient Greek plays, there would often be a group of people in the background who commented (through song, dance, and spoken lines) upon the action going on between the main characters on stage. We call this the “Greek Chorus”. Today when divorce lawyers talk about the “Greek Chorus”, we are talking about the crowd of friends, relatives, and acquaintances who we know are in the background commenting on and giving advice to our clients about the divorce.
As much as possible, we try to get our clients to screen out and ignore the Greek Chorus behind them, as difficult as that may be. The problem is that not only are they often wrong, but they are biased.
They are often wrong because they have a very limited knowledge of divorce law. What they know typically comes from their own divorce, from their friend’s divorce, or from articles they have read. They usually have not been involved in enough divorces to know what distinguishes one from another – they assume that because a friend got $5000 per month in support, you can too, or that because they got a 50/50 parenting plan, the same schedule will be ordered in your case. They may not understand that the result in the case they know about was atypical, or that it was because of the friend’s disability, or that it is related to the amount of separate property in the case, or was because the parties made their own agreement. They may not know that different courts can give very different results and they probably don’t know what is actually likely to happen given your particular set of facts.
They are biased because after all, they are your supporters. They want what is best for you, or at least what they think is best for you. This bias comes out in the form of rose-tinted glasses. They are going to see every issue in the light most favorable to you. They are not going to even make an effort to see things from your spouse’s point of view, and often won’t be able to acknowledge that the court could see things differently than they do, or that there might be difficulties in your case.
The professionals you work within your case – the lawyers, financial specialists, appraisers, parenting evaluators, etc. – will help you understand the pluses and minuses of your case, how a court is likely to rule, and how best to proceed to achieve the results you need. Turn the volume down on the Greek Chorus and don’t let them convince you that your divorce should turn out just like Aunt Mabel’s.