The Boomer's Guide to Divorce - Buy it at Amazon.com

Introduction

So, why read the Boomerís Guide to Divorce? Because according to the numbers, as a baby boomer (and, actually, even if youíre not a boomer), half of all first-time marriages will end by year 15. So, the chances are unfortunately high that you--or a boomer you love--will be facing the specter of divorce at some time in your life. When this happens, as a boomer (born from 1946 to 1964), youíll be doing what boomers do when confronted with a challenge: Youíll learn all that you can, weigh the information, and choose the course thatís best for you. Boomers have never held the belief that ignorance is bliss or that they are victims of circumstance--or anything else.

In that boomer spirit, I wrote this book to be a vital source of information for you, keeping in mind what a boomer would want to know about divorce and its consequences. As boomers, we share some unique facts: Our generation will live longer than any generation before us, we are more educated, we have higher incomes (though lower savings for retirement), fewer children, more hobbies, and a greater exposure to divorce and divorcing people in our youth than any preceding generation. (We were the first group to experience our parentsí divorces in large numbers, and to know neighbors and friends who were affected by divorce as we grew up.) Female boomers are more likely to work outside the home than any other preceding generation of women, while male boomers are more likely to share financial and family responsibilities with their partners. But there's more. We boomers have, ourselves, divorced--and will divorce in the future--more then any other cohort before, and some suggest, after us. The reasons for the boomer divorce explosion are explained in Chapter 1. These extraordinary boomer characteristics shape the boomerís divorce experience, and I explore how, in this book.

As you'll see, thumbing through the pages that follow, I cover the legal basics with boomer sensitivity (yes, I throw in a Bob Dylan and Beatle reference from time to time; how could I not?), and then build upon the essentials to address unique boomer concerns (exploring reconciliation options, security in retirement, health care, alimony, life after 50, etc.) Throughout the book, I present the material in a way thatís pertinent, not only to your current lifestyle, but also to your lifelong boomer values and aspirations, giving you the social and, where relevant, political context of the divorce laws youíll be dealing with. I explain how these laws developed, how they apply now, and how they might be a-changin' in the future--and why. (Just in case you want to do the boomer thing and change the world, or at least contribute toward the evolution of domestic-relations laws in your state. If not, that's okay. Don't think twice, it's all right.)

In case you're wondering why I undertook this task, here's the answer: Not only have I practiced family law since 1986, I've also been a divorced boomer since 1995, and (contrary to the famous line in When Harry Met Sally that 40 is a big dead-end) after age 40, I met and married my current--and final--husband, a twice-divorced boomer himself. So, I wrote this boomer guide to divorce using my experience on both personal and professional fronts. I know the kind of divorce book I would have liked to have recommended to my clients--a book that not only explained the legal machinations to them, but also one that could have been a balm to their psychic wounds as they embarked--voluntarily, or not--upon the process of divorce, legal separation, or annulment (I explain the differences in Part 1). No such book existed--until now.

As you'll see, flipping through the pages, I divided this book into five reader-friendly sections for your convenience. Each part addresses a different phase of divorce. Take a quick look at the descriptions at the beginning of each section. Next, glance at the table of contents. You'll see how the chapters contain the information youíll need to come through the divorce process in the best way possible--legally, physically, and, as a boomer, spiritually whole, with sense of irony and humor intact.

Knowing your boomer need to know more--always--I give you terrific resources at points where I think you might want further analysis or supplementary information. Some of these materials are books, but many are peer-reviewed professional articles, law cases, and statutes available for free on the World Wide Web. By logging on to the web pages (URLs) I provide, you can see how scholars have analyzed an issue, or how a real court has applied a certain rule or law in an actual divorce case, or how a federal law in question is really written, all offering you more insight as you think about your life, your legal issues, and your divorce. (Say, donít be discouraged if you lack private computer access at home--use your local public library or an Internet cafť so that you can view all the websites you want in private. You'll learn why this privacy issue is important as you read about cyber-snooping and divorce.)

You'll see, unlike the other self-help divorce titles on the bookshelf next to you, this boomer guide to divorce contains the specific information you'll need to prepare and protect yourself for what lies ahead, while giving you the practical advantage of having my years of hands-on, in-the-trenches experience and multiple bar admissions. But that's not all. After lecturing on the topic of divorce all over the country, I've learned the questions to which people need answers (even though they've surfed the Web and bought a bundle of "divorce books" by nonlawyers and lawyers alike) and answered them for you, here, from a boomer perspective. See if you don't agree.

Finally, perusing the following pages, you'll see I've written the material with good humor and in true boomer fellowship (keeping true to the culture and era that informed us as we grew up), peppering the text with boomer quotes and lyrics and other familiar boomer references. I thought this unusual approach (from a divorced boomer divorce attorney) would make you feel comfortable, and maybe even nostalgic, youthful, hopeful, and full of enthusiasm as you read the words and deal with the end of a marriage and the creation of a brand new life for yourself. Now begins the dawning of your own Age of Aquarius. Let me help--I'll take you there.

Dedication Page

CAUTION!!! This book, however generally informative, is not meant to be, nor can it substitute for, personal legal advice in your highly specific matter. As this book describes in detail, the law is always changing, and to make sure you get--or keep--what is rightfully yours; you MUST continually check the law in your state, and get advice tailor-made for the facts of your case (even if it's just one time) from a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

©2004-2015. Marlene M. Browne. All rights reserved.