First Person Singular: Sharon Zarozny

First Person Singular
(Matthew Girard)
  Enlarge Photo    
Sunday, August 16, 2009

I help people through the chaos of separation and divorce -- men, women, couples and families. My elevator speech is: When happily ever after stops working, call me. Sure, you can call an attorney, but you better be ready to fight if you do. Many, not all, attorneys are in it to win it. They don't have to care about what's left of your family.

I'm not pro-divorce. But people are so scared of it -- they think it's easier to keep getting beat up or live without love than admit to a failure. Me, I'm pro-figuring out what's best for you and your family. Maybe you need to find a therapist or a financial adviser or an attorney who isn't a barracuda. Or maybe you just want someone to listen who knows that bad marriages can happen to a good person.

I went through the divorce from hell. I'm still going through it. I have had 13 years of insight to know how the system works. First time I had to go to an attorney, it was terrifying. A criminal goes to an attorney. I didn't want to go to court -- before a judge. People tell me, "I don't want to get a divorce -- I just want to get unmarried. I want it over, but I don't want to go through all that stuff." Divorce is hard enough to go through. I don't think we should punish people by putting them through a grueling court experience and depleting their bank accounts. My divorce took 41/2 years. I spent $60,000. My ex: half a million. I remember turning to my attorney and saying, "When will this be over?" And he said, "When one of you runs out of money."

Starting this was the only way I could make sense of what I'd gone through. I'm not healed yet. When my daughters want to rent a romantic comedy, I don't want to watch. When I go to weddings of young couples, I think: I lost that fairy tale. But I still like men, don't get me wrong. At my daughter's freshmen orientation, all the students stood up and walked out. I looked around the room and saw all these couples holding hands, leaning on each other. I don't want to go it alone forever.

Interview by Amanda Long

© 2009 The Washington Post Company