It seems that change and the New Year go hand in hand. As we all know, this is a time in which people make resolutions they desperately hope they can keep, knowing it will never happen. For example, I love Hershey’s Chocolate bars. Sure, there is better chocolate out there, but Hershey bars are cheap. So, I have resolved to eat fewer of them, and I now call them medicine. Consequently, I am not eating chocolate; I am instead taking medicine to help me cope, which chocolate does on so very many different levels.
All this aside, this is a time in which people try to make radical changes in their lives, and which I would suggest may not be such a good idea. Many folks contact me reference divorce or parenting issues and the like just after the start of the New Year. I often urge them to take a step back and to take a deep breath. You are probably wondering why a family law attorney would say this, so let me tell you why I give this counsel. Studies have shown that couples that stick it out often are happier in five years than couples who opt for divorce. This suggests that if you leap into a divorce you could actually end up being unhappier. Now, I am not suggesting that anyone remain in an abusive relationship, but I think it worthwhile to ask yourself where you envision yourself being in five years. Why five years? Well, this is the time it normally takes a working parent to get additional job training or for a stay-at-home mom to retrain themselves to enter the workforce. Moreover, five years allows time for significant change to occur. For example, for military families, they will have likely moved to a new duty station meaning that the deployments which might have wreaked havoc on a marriage may no longer be a factor. It also marks a reasonable period in which financial circumstances may likewise have changed. My counsel then is to think about some of the issues I have raised, and if things look like they might be brighter in the future you might want to tough out the current situation. However, as you think on some of the things I have mentioned also consider your age. A dissolution of a marriage means starting over for many people. Ask yourself whether in five years will you have the time necessary to get any required job training and whether you will be employable. We all know age discrimination is against the law, but we also know it happens. So, as this New Year begins I counsel you to “go slow” to go fast. This simply means to think things through thoroughly so that when the time comes you can execute quickly. Additionally, talk to a family law attorney. A good one will lay out a scenario of how your case might evolve. When I meet with people, whether it be about divorce, legal separation, or parenting issues I make sure they know what they can expect. If you do not know this after meeting with an attorney you need to find someone else! Contact us if we can help.