When is Divorce the Right Decision?

Apr 19, 2012

As a collaborative divorce lawyer, I generally extoll the virtues of avoiding divorce.  But, a film documentary has reminded me that to everything there is indeed a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.  

51 Birch Street tells a powerful story.  It is the story of a husband and wife that stayed married for 53 years, raised three kids, and seemed happy, but ultimately may have benefited from a divorce. 

After her death, Filmmaker Doug Block discovered that his mother lived most of her marriage resenting his father, and may well have preferred to have not been married at all. 

Further, shortly after his wife of 53 years died, Block’s father married his long lost former secretary.

That left Block to wonder whether his father had been in love with his secretary for decades, and whether his mother knew it.  

The film raises many questions.  One that sticks with me is when is it better to be divorced than to live life in misery, or pining for the person you truly love?  

I watch many of my clients struggle with these questions as they go through the divorce process.  Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question for them.  But, 51 Birch Street will serve as a reminder to me that there may be many right answers to these questions.  

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