Family Law Unraveled

The latest from Margaret's blog

Hopeless Romantics

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Right after Valentine’s Day, there was a lot of excitement in my office because our paralegal, Anna Marie, got engaged. We were excited not only because we were happy for her but also because we were enchanted by the proposal process, an incredibly creative and elaborate treasure hunt in Center City involving family and friends, letters, recorded music and a live performance, all leading to her fiancé on bended knee in Rittenhouse Square.

Divorce lawyers? Thrilled with the romance of a marriage proposal? Hungry for details of the wedding plans? Yes. You might think that divorce lawyers are a cynical lot when it comes to marriage, but you would be wrong. We are clear eyed about the economics of divorce, but the divorce lawyers I know as partners, associates, colleagues, and friends tend to place a tremendous premium on marriage and family and, in my totally unscientific survey, have a very low divorce rate.

I have often wondered why this is. I know for myself, I see so much family misery on a daily basis that I feel grateful for the marriage I have and – here’s what I think is probably the key – I’m tolerant of small problems and differences because I am so acutely aware of the big picture, of how unimportant those differences may be when compared to the potential cataclysm of divorce.

I once met someone who was a member of a religious group which completely rejects the notion of divorce. He asked me what I did for a living, I told him, and he asked how I could sleep at night. Of course, I can sleep at night because I strongly believe that people should not remain in marriages that are unhappy or abusive. However, I think he had a picture of me as someone who goes around with a wrecking ball aimed at marriage as an institution. I only wish he could have been in my office when Anna Marie was telling the proposal story.

2 thoughts on “Hopeless Romantics

  1. Margy, I love this. You are a good writer!

  2. Joni says:

    In a belated response to Margy’s delightful blog, I will share the “cocktail party” routine my husband (of 35 years) and I developed long ago. In response to inevitable comments about the irony that I, a divorce lawyer, should have a long marriage, I say something like, “Well, Ed is actually just an average husband. Nothing special. But I’ve learned how absolutely awful some spouses can be and often come home at night praising him for his wonderful lack of serious flaws.” Then Ed says, “Actually, the secret of our long marriage is that I’ve listened carefully whenever Joni came home bitching and moaning about the outrageous behavior of another attorney. I added each name to my private list, knowing that, if the topic of divorce ever came up, I would pull it out and ask Joni which one she preferred to represent me.”

    On a serious note, Anna Marie, I wish you and Steve many years of happiness.

Add a Comment