One Divorce Lawyer’s Quiet Season

It’s quiet time at Alabama Family Law Center. Every year, typically from the Monday before Thanksgiving until the middle of January or so, I experience a quiet season. The phone rings less, people make fewer appointments, even traffic on my web site is lower.

I’ve been doing this for 10 years now. At least for the first five years, I dreaded this time of year, because of what it meant for my revenue. How will I pay for my Yellow Pages ad? What about Christmas shopping? How can I cover all those bills when there’s no business coming in?

Thanks to a relentless application of the maxim of my good friend Mike Harper (“Two ways to be rich: have more; want less”), my wife and I need less now to be happy, and we’re less concerned about money. So now I embrace this quiet time each year like an old friend bringing a hot cup of cider for a gentle visit. And I think.

I think about those poor ex-spouses who are at war about when Christmas Eve begins or who gets the kids when over Christmas. God bless them, and God bless the children who are the turf over which they fight.

I think about my future clients, being either too poor or too smart, or both, to let their divorce get out of control and fight it out with separate lawyers and retainers and judges. I know they’re holding things together at this time of year and hoping against hope they won’t have to call somebody like me come January. And miracle of miracles, some of them won’t. Some of them will find ways of holding their marriage together for another year. God bless them as they work to find ways to do this.

I think about those people who feel imprisoned in unhappy marriages who see no way out, ever, for whom this time of year is just an extra assault of vulnerability and quiet desparation. God bless them, and give them strength to survive and cope.

And I think of those people like me, blessed beyond all measure. Living in happy marriages as we do, we are free to revel in this time of year during which we remember and celebrate a God who loves us, who comes to us, even when we’re too selfish to know how much we need it. God bless those especially who think they don’t need God to bless them.

2 comments

  1. Lee,
    It is the quiet season, isn’t it? However, one of the joys of taking on contested work is that the holiday lull is always interrupted by at least one emergency visitation issue around Christmas. In 2004, it was two cases, one involving alcoholism and another borderline personality disorder. Unfortunately, for 2005, it’s a crystal meth case – makes me nostalgic for last year. I’ve about done as much as I can for my 2005 emergency, and am hoping for a lull for the next 3 weeks. Nothing like egg nog and re-vamping forms.

    Have you also noticed the seasonal rush? Every New Year & every new school year, the cases pour in. Like everyone gave it one last try over summer or over the holidays, and finally realized there was nothing to do but get it over with. It does make you appreciate your own family even more.

    Merry Christmas, & happy holidays.

  2. leeborden says:

    Thanks Andrea,

    That’s another way my practice tends to have a different rhythm. I don’t see a New Year’s rush or a new school year rush. Instead, my business tends to pick up slowly after the New Year and doesn’t return to normal levels until about the middle of January. Can’t tell you why; just is. Hope you and yours have a great Christmas.

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