With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I’ve been busy trying to convince my family to spend the holiday on the beach. Yes, it will be crowded, but why not be part of the crowd? To me, it’s worth seeing a real professional fireworks show right over the water, rather than setting off our own. But at the end of the day, I know what we’re celebrating is more important than where we choose to do it. Independence Day is a time for pride and gratitude. We can look back on the legacy of this nation’s founding and the ideals inscribed in our Constitution, and appreciate the freedoms granted us. Not every country has the kind of individual liberties we enjoy. As a lawyer, I see these inalienable rights in action all the time. While I will be the first to admit the law isn’t perfect in practice, at least the Founding Fathers designed it to be adapted democratically. This ability to shape the rules we live by is what independence is all about. Meditating on our nation’s ideals makes it impossible not to think about the women we serve. So often, divorce comes about when women need to reassert their own independence and regain control of their lives. It pains me that so many have to overcome extremely difficult circumstances to do so.
A disturbingly large number of my clients have been with very controlling partners. Some even had husbands who would check their debit card history daily . This wasn’t just an infantilizing way to hold their wives to a budget — behavior like this is a means of control. These women couldn’t even seek counseling or hire a divorce lawyer without their domineering husbands finding out immediately. I only met these women because they were incredibly brave. It shouldn’t take such incredible courage to get out of a relationship, but for so many people, marriage can feel like a prison. It doesn’t have to be this way. In my opinion, relationships flourish in freedom. Yes, you have responsibilities to one another, but you choose to uphold them. That’s what makes them so meaningful. So, as we celebrate those men and women who chose to break with England and take control of their own destiny, let’s carry forward that same drive to be free. Standing up for personal independence can take incredible bravery, but if our nation’s history of progress and liberation proves anything, it’s a stand worth making. To those out there feeling trapped, please know there is a way out, and you don’t have to take on this fight alone.
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Happy Independence Day,
“SO OFTEN, DIVORCE COMES ABOUT WHEN WOMEN NEED TO REASSERT THEIR OWN INDEPENDENCE AND REGAIN CONTROL OF THEIR LIVES.”
-Heather Qu ick
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