Every family law attorney I know dreads going back to work in January, and all for the same reason: They get tons of calls from potential clients who survived the holidays and now want out of their marriage.
According to one attorney, there’s a 30 percent increase in the volume of calls in January compared to other times of the year. The first business day in January has actually been dubbed “Divorce Monday,” and January overall, “Divorce Month.”
You may have wanted out months ago but, as fall approached, decided you didn’t want to ruin the kids’ holidays, or have to share the news with your extended family during your trip back home to see them.
The holidays emphasize love and family. If that’s not what you experience in your home, staying in a loveless (and perhaps sexless) relationship becomes harder because the contrast is in your face.
With the turning of the calendar page, the first resolution for these folks is to move forward with filing—determined to make this the year to be true to themselves and take charge of living the life they want to lead.
With one finger perched on the button that will change the fate of their marriage (and their life), the last thing they want is for someone to come along and talk them out of it, or try to make them feel awful or ashamed about wanting to make a break.
It’s not my intention to make anyone feel bad or wrong. As I tell all my clients, I have no agenda as to whether they stay in or leave your relationship. I would not try to butt in to anyone’s life, were it not for a completely viable but little-known alternative to divorce.
It’s called a Parenting Marriage and more and more couples are turning to this option as a way to “stay for the kids” without staying stuck in a bad relationship. As spouses, you basically change your job description from lover, best friend, and co-parent to co-parent first and foremost, friends maybe, and lovers no longer.
During the past six years, I’ve helped dozens of couples across the U.S. transition from their traditional marriage to this non-traditional variation on the theme. Many find it surprisingly workable. Of course, it’s complicated and the need for having clear agreements in place is paramount, but it can be done if you both want the same things.
I know what you’re thinking: People already do this; it’s called an affair. I’m well aware that romantic affairs go on illicitly, but what I’m suggesting is that this can also happen in an above-board, respectful kind of way.
How about making a resolution of opening your mind to new ways of thinking about your marriage?
Regardless of the choice you make, take a few minutes to peruse my videos and articles on the topic. If you have specific questions about a Parenting Marriage, feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll either respond to you directly or answer you via video on the Parenting Marriage Facebook page so be sure to give us a “Like.” And, Happy New Year!