Tuesday 19 February 2013

What do you think: Is helping people divorce as a legal practicioner immoral?

Is helping people divorce as a legal practicioner immoral?

I am studying to become an Advocate in the Republic of South Africa. One of my mandatory courses is to act as a paralegal: giving legal advice to the poor. I have been assigned to the family department: guardianship, etcetera but also divorce. I had initially hoped to take police torture cases, but the university ignored my wishes on the matter, and I have to do this or I don't graduate. I am good at divorce law, and I like that parties must be sure the marriage is over before divorce, and that children are the major focus of everything.

My rationalization is that divorce is tragic, while remarriage is the mortal sin, also that the state sinned by introducing divorce, but that does not mean that people should be denied legal services, such as to ensure that their children are cared for and that the weaker party gets maintenance and so forth. I don't think what I am doing is immoral, and it is required for me to graduate from law.

That said, I am uneasy. I don't mind defending a murderer, or rapist, but it makes me uneasy that divorce rips apart families. The head of the department is a Catholic who goes to church every Sunday, which is some comfort.

For me, what we do is divide estates of people already divorced in their hearts: and insure that no further evil comes of the divorce by enforcing the rights to maintenance and childcare and so on.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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