I have been to my share of engagement parties, bridal showers, and weddings. As I introduce myself to other guests and we exchange the obligatory niceties where we discuss our connection to the bride/groom, I often get asked what I do for a living. After being asked this question I take a deep breath and muster up the courage to admit that I am a divorce lawyer. Naturally, the reaction is a slight wince or horrid gasp followed by a chuckle about “how ironic” it is for a divorce lawyer to be in attendance at such a joyous and loving celebration. Ironic? Believe it or not, divorce lawyers have friends and, at times, said friends might take the leap of faith and bask in the glory of a fairytale union. We lovingly support them and truly hope they will never need our help in the future.
I often get asked if I have any advice based on my experience as a divorce lawyer because, as you can guess, we see it all. Without referencing statistics or some fancy pie chart, I will simply share 5 Random Thoughts I would share with a lovely couple starting out so, hopefully, they will never have to face the sadness and heartbreak that accompanies a dissolution:
- People Change. Often times, people come to my office and say that, “He/She wasn't the person they married 20 years ago. The person has changed so much.” Remember, if you married someone at age 20 when your biggest concern was trying to decide where you would spend your 21st Birthday, then it would be fair to say that stress associated with children, mortgage, and a career might change the way a person acts and reacts to life. Remind yourself, it is a blessing that the person you share so many responsibilities with takes life a little more seriously as compared to the oh so breezy college kid. With that being said….
- People Don't Change. More often than not, people come to my office and discuss all the events that occurred prior to their wedding…unfaithfulness, anger issues, financial irresponsibility, alcohol abuse, etc. The signs were there from the beginning! If the signs were there from the beginning, the wedding occurred, and the same issues continue to occur, the chances of the issues resolving themselves without serious help are very low. With that being said….
- It is Okay to Ask for Help. If there are problems, a person will never regret feeling like they tried everything to save the marriage, especially if children are involved. Someone skilled in working with individuals having marital problems may be the key to avoiding an attorney's office. With that being said…
- You Do Not Need to Ask Everyone for Help. While it is important for people to have shoulders to lean on and confidants, very often people come to my office and complain that their spouse is being influenced by their family and friends. Everyone has an opinion if asked, so be careful who you ask. With that being said….
- Nobody Has the Answer. Since you asked a divorce lawyer their thoughts, just remember, they can only speak as to what they see. Nobody, I mean nobody, has surefire answers as to the best route to take to avoid having to walk into a divorce lawyer's office. With that being said…
Please try not to wince if you come across a divorce lawyer at the next happy occasion. We promise you, we are not contagious and we truly just want to enjoy the event….and the cake.