When I meet people and tell them that I am a divorce lawyer, I often get comments something like: “We have been married for over 20 years; I guess we will never need your services.” Or, “We’ve been married so long, there’d be no point breaking up. Divorce is something the younger folks do.” Contrary to popular belief, mature couples divorce every day. Many of my clients have been married 20 to 30 years and even more. A significant amount are over 50 and I have even had clients over 70. The mid life and beyond divorce is not as unusual as one may think.
Privacy and Respect are important values to mature couples.
Most couples seeking to end their marriage do want to with a minimum of rancor maintaining some dignity and respect for each other. But for the mature couple, who has witnessed friends and family turn their lives upside down both emotionally and financially through expensive litigated divorces, this is even more important. They have worked hard to build an estate and are not interested in wasting their assets on a financially draining process. A recent issue of Consumer Reports points out that one of the most expensive money mistakes a person can make is “Launching a Divorce War”. This ranks as number three in the publications list of 12 biggest money mistakes.
To avoid the divorce war, mature couples are looking for solutions preserving their privacy, dividing their assets according to their individual needs and minimization of the emotional trauma that comes from closing the door on a relationship and lifestyle that has weathered many years.
There are alternatives to litigating a divorce
The legal community has recognized the need for non-adversarial divorce, especially for couples who have been married for a longer period of time, and have accumulated a variety of assets including real estate and retirement plans. Today, a group of attorneys are now active in collaborative law, divorce mediation, cooperative divorce and some are even available to help a couple in a so-called “kitchen table” divorce where the couple does most of the negotiations themselves. An on-line search on www.respectfuldivorce.com , collaborative law sight provides many resources and several resources are also available on my web site ww.karinquirk.com.
Divorce is a normal life transition
Although divorce is sad at any juncture in life, it is especially important for long term couples ending their marriage to put it in perspective. As Tim Jenkins, a family therapist in Redmond, Washington points out “The success or failure of a marriage should not be judged upon whether it ends or continues “until death do us part.” It might be better judged on how much growth it has afforded us as conscious human beings striving to connect intimately. There is nothing abnormal or blameworthy about divorce. It is to be expected. If we can help people to use this normal life transition to launch into new and richer living then we will be doing a far better service than trying to maintain relationships that don’t serve or brutally severing relationships that must end through litigation.”