It’s hard to navigate what authors David and Claudia Arp call “the second half of marriage” — the years after the kids leave. The growing divorce rate among baby boomers has jumped by more than 50 percent over the past 20 years.
But instead of wringing our hands about so-called gray divorces and seeing those long-term marriages as failures, perhaps we should consider marriage as more “till the kids part” than “till death do us part.” The partner we need in our 20s and 30s, when many of us are looking to settle down and raise kids, may not be the partner we need in our 50s, 60s and beyond, when we’re free to explore new passions or reinvigorate the ones we gave up when the kids came along.
Each client that comes to our office in Houston has a different motivation for seeking a divorce. For some, they have been married for only a year or two and find that they simply are not compatible with their spouse. Others may be trying to escape an issue with substance abuse or financial troubles. In the case of the rising numbers of baby boomers seeking a divorce, it certainly has been my experience that many of these clients are waiting for their children to start their own lives before making major changes.
As divorce attorneys, we have to be sensitive to the needs and motivations of our clients. The more we know about what brought them to us in the first place, the more we will be likely to develop a better attorney-client relationship and, therefore, do a better job for our clients.