Picture This: You married your high school sweetheart. You settled down and had a couple of kids early in life whom are now out of school and have families of their own. Through the early years of your marriage things were great, but as you both matured, and the kids moved out, you realized that you became more like roommates than husband and wife. You love one another, but you no longer have anything in common except for the kids and grandkids. You turned 52 and you wonder “shouldn’t there be more to a marriage?” There seems to be no fire left in the marriage and your spouse seems interested in living their own life.
Is it a good time to approach divorce? Is there an alternative? How should it be handled?
The scenario above is a very common situation I hear in my practice, and in the world, as well. Couples grow apart. They grow “out” of their marriage. They “fall out of love.” The parties don’t want to fight. Rather, they simply want to agree on division of assets and move on. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. If you find yourself in this situation, here are a few pointers I have found along the way.
- Don’t give up on marriage just because it’s boring. That may sound strange coming from a family lawyer who practices divorce law, but my years of experience in law have taught me that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. If you are bored in your marriage, especially if you are BOTH bored in your marriage, try to find common interests other than your kids. What things did you once have in common? Was it the same type of movies, a hobby, long drives? Try to find things before giving up. You may find that it’s worth the work.
- Think before you act. Before you rush down to the courthouse, or even to my office, take a little time to truly imagine your new life without your spouse beside you every day. Imagine your new life. Will it really change? Are you excited to think of the new life? Will you do things differently and how will you manage family gatherings? Think about these things. Then, if you are truly miserable, do not let these things hold you back. Your family may not understand at first but most families come around with good communication.
- Be cautious about a new relationship: Sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when you are in a marriage that has gone “cold.” Trust me on this. Few things can complicate a divorce like the introduction of a new person in the other one’s life. Tempers flare. Emotions roar. What was once a joint agreement can unnecessarily becomea fully contested case. Do not do that to yourself or your family.
- Be patient with your family and friends. You may be excited about the thoughts of a new life. Others in your family, such as your kids, may not share that enthusiasm. If they see that you and your spouse are in agreement and will be happier people living separate lives, they will accept it. If they see that even though the divorce isn’t what one party wants, the other will be happy, they may come around. Remember that change is not easy for most people.
All of these points above were written in contemplation of a non-contested divorce. If you are the only one in the marriage who has decided it is time to move on, contact me. We will put a plan together to make this as smooth of a transition as we possibly can. I will listen to what you want and need to move forward and help you navigate the legal waters to make that happen.