By Michael Jacobs

michaeljacobs@reporternewspapers.net

When Susanne Katz’s marriage was breaking up several years ago, she felt lost.

A psychologist friend, Marilynn Winston, suggested Katz write her feelings and experiences in a journal, a therapeutic process that led the two longtime Sandy Springs residents to write the only book for women in Katz’s situation.

“A Woman’s Guide to Managing a Mid-Life Divorce” is a quick 82 pages, but it reflects three years’ work to address a growing problem.

The most common age range for divorce in the United States is 45 to 54, and AARP found in a 2004 study that two-thirds of midlife divorces are initiated by the wives.

Divorce at midlife is different from a breakup early in marriage because “you build up assets over 20, 30 years,” Katz said, “and the divorce is all about those assets.”

Winston and Katz are not promoting divorce. They want to help women ask the right questions about divorce, including the ultimate question: “How am I going to survive this?”

The book provides the vocabulary for women to initiate the conversations on which their legal, financial and emotional survival will depend. It also could help friends and family learn how to support women going through divorce.

Besides the insights of Katz, a writer and art curator in addition to mother and grandmother, and Winston, an academic writer and educator as well as a mother and grandmother married for almost 42 years, the book features the stories of six anonymous midlife divorcees.

Also contributing to the book are six professionals: Buckhead psychiatrist Howard Maziar; Buckhead lawyers Randie Siegel, Amy Kaye and George Stern; East Cobb lawyer David Green; and Sandy Springs CPA Barry Frankel.

Katz and Winston can add themselves to that professional list as the proprietors of Sandy Springs-based Katz & Winston LLC. In addition to selling the divorce book, they teach classes and speak at conferences, and they are considering other books for midlife women.

They are launching the divorce book with a party at Antiques & Interiors of Sandy Springs, 6336 Roswell Road, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. March 11.