More and more older long term married people are divorcing.
Amazing that marriages of 30 long years come to an end. Not with a bang, a big fight, a steamy hot mistress to blame, nope, just a dead marriage that is finally put out of its misery.
The New York Times had a great article that talked about this phenomenon with Hilary Stephens as the example. As stated in the article, she was 57 when she decided she had had enough — enough of her job, of caretaking, of her marriage of 28 years. So she did something many people fantasize about: She walked away from it all. Then she took up horseback riding again, competed in her first horse show in 38 years and won first place in her division.
Figure 1 Hilary Stephens Dallas Morning News reprint from New York Times Abby Ellin Updated: 04 December 2015 08:49 PM
It takes guts to call it quits after that long. Money, emotional security, the stigma of being divorced, the nightmare of trying to find someone new, all add up and keep the meek married no matter what the marriage mess is.
But, as an attorney, for my clients still hanging on to a dying marriage, I do enjoy offering those early in the divorce process my help as a mediator between the two. To try and find out if there can be built a future in which both can be happy, and willing to see life through to the end tied to the other.
I think everyone knows that the more the couple fights, the more money the lawyers make. I am not naïve, but there is great satisfaction in helping a couple calmly work through the difficulties of the present. Legally, an attorney cannot represent both parties, this would be a conflict of interest and the State of Texas has it in the statutes that this is a big bad thing to be avoided.
However, as a trained family law mediator, I am allowed to be a go between. A third party to help the two communicate and see if the problems can be minimized and the potential goodness of the relationship revived or built to make it worth it.
But, as Hilary said about divorce in the article, “Sometimes it’s the only solution.” And time to “lawyer-up” if necessary.
As always, feel free to comment, send me a private note. Keep it nice though.
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By Jac Schuster, a Family Law attorney, Estate Planning and Probate attorney in McKinney, Texas.