Divorce is Not Always the Right Answer
After doing this for almost 31 years, I realize more than ever that there is a lot more to being a divorce lawyer than getting people divorced.
In fact, to be a great divorce attorney, you have to also know when a client should not get divorced.
Yesterday, a husband of a thirty year marriage came in for a consultation and was going to file for divorce. He had messed up and caused a huge problem in the marriage. He was totally wrong in what he had done and knew it. His wife was obviously having a rough time accepting the mistake, no matter what he said or did. Thus, he was in the office to get a divorce.
I sat down and talked to him, but it was not about getting divorced.
It was about his life and what was really going on. We talked about his mistake and I found out it was a big mistake, but a one time incident. He regretted it terribly and would do anything to change what had happened. I asked him if he wanted a divorce. He said no. I then told him to not get a divorce. He was shocked. He was shocked I would tell him not to get a divorce. He was shocked I would not take his money. Overall, he was taken completely off guard. He just assumed he needed to get a divorce and we would be there to do it for him without question.
As we talked more, I found out they had not been to any counseling and his wife had not been to an attorney or filed for divorce. She really did not want a divorce either. She was just heartbroken and betrayed.
I then told him to not even think about filing for divorce. We could always do that later. I would get the same result whether he filed yesterday, next week, next month or next year. There was no reason to rush into court and throw away a 30 year marriage. He should at least try to save the marriage.
So off he went. He went home to tell his wife what I said. To try to save his marriage. To try to make it work. Hopefully it will.
The point is that everyone doesn’t need to rush into getting a divorce just because bad things happen in your life. That is really truly “real life”. Life is hard. Sometimes it really sucks. Marriage is hard. Sometimes it truly sucks too. But that doesn’t mean it should be thrown away and discarded.
I would be surprised if I ever see that husband back in my office ever again. I think they have a real shot at making it. If they don’t, they can always get divorced so there is no reason to rush into it.
No one told all of us that marriage or life would be perfect, or even easy. It is not. More than 50% of couples that get married get divorced. More than 72% of couples that lose a child like we did get divorced. I do not want to be one of those statistics.
This Monday my wife and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.
Today she is still my best friend and I cannot imagine life without her. But that does not mean it has always been perfect. That last two years since Nick was killed have had some really rough moments. We have survived those hard times and keep going strong. I believe in part it is because we have a real faith in God and a real faith in our family. We are strong. Our kids our strong. Because of that, we don’t always have to go through hard times alone. It makes a difference. I know there are many times the last two years that I was ready to fall apart after losing Nick. I have no doubt in my mind that God carried me through those dark days, and I am not afraid to say that. I cannot do “life” all by myself, and I would not want to.
Thus, for anyone out there struggling in their marriage and needing help, please do not hesitate to call us. If you decide getting divorced is the right answer, we will be there to do the best job we can do. If not getting divorced is the right answer, we will also be there helping you make that decision as well. That is why I love Murphy & Dunn. It is my life’s work and I am very proud of the company we have built and the people in it.
Our job and life really are all about people.