What a great time to be an American! After last week’s historic Supreme Court rulings, there’s so much to celebrate, including not having to pretend you’re Canadian while on vacation in Europe! And while the Fourth is traditionally full of flag waving, hot dogs and fireworks, I like to think in addition to being psyched to be a free American, it can also be a time to reflect on hard fought personal freedoms — you know, the divorced kind! Divorce often doesn’t come cheap, but the independence gained can be priceless.
Divorce is not just the dissolution of an old contract, it’s also the time when you and your ex sign a new contract buying your freedom and independence back from each other. The two of you are basically the Jefferson and Franklin to your marriage’s King George, cutting ties and forging ahead into the great unknown. As Gerald F. Lieberman aptly said, “Divorce is a declaration of independence with only two signers.” Try to agree beforehand who is Jefferson and who is Franklin, it makes for an easier signing process (may I recommend whichever one of you has the better hair be Jefferson).
Don’t get me wrong, embarking on this new freedom can be scary, as it is the unknown. But just like that stuffy room full of men in pantaloons, you must charge ahead, throw caution to the wind and grab hold of your future.
Pen in hand, you might feel like a baby bird, tiny and terrified to leave the safe comfort of the devil you know (not that your soon to be former spouse is the devil, but you know what I’m trying to say). It’s ok, baby bird, harness the bravery of our forefathers within yourself. Set pen to paper and embolden yourself by humming in your head, or ideally, playing out loud George Michael’s “Freedom ‘90.”
Squiggle out your signature and say “Hello future! It’s great to see you! I look forward to the freedoms I will enjoy though I know it might be a hard road! But at least I’ve got air conditioning, gps and modern medicine, so already I’m sort of ahead of those forefathers and it worked out pretty ok for them!”
Unlike all those rom-coms that ingrain the belief that you need another person to complete you (Jerry Maguire even went so far as to make “you complete me” a catch phrase – UGH.) you’re going to do just fine on your own. You’re strong and capable and life is too short to while away in an unhappy marriage. A bunch of dudes got together and decided they wanted to be free, and to do so they had to declare war against a king. War! A king! That’s no small potatoes. All you have to do is call up a qualified lawyer such as myself. So let’s get going and let’s let freedom ring.
Happy Fourth, folks!
James J. Sexton