5 ways To Have a Healthy Divorce, Number 1

THE Relationship Blog


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January is Divorce Month! Gosh, we didn’t get you anything. But seriously, more divorces are filed in the month of January than any other month. For family lawyers, this is like tax season for CPAs. Sadly, this is the result of starting the New Year fresh. Many people tend to make big decisions when faced with the prospect of another year. So that we are very clear, CoupleDumb is not pro-marriage; we are pro happy and healthy marriages. A divorce is a necessary evil when you find yourself in a relationship that does not work for you and is slowly eroding your esteem and soul.  So, we invite all people in the midst of divorce to entertain the possibility of a healthy divorce.

Yes, it is possible to have a healthy divorce. We just don’t see them very often because most people are continuing to play out the dysfunction of their marriage in their divorce. You need to ask yourself, why? Why are you arguing, fighting, positioning and committed to destroying your former spouse? For the next few days we will detail the 5 ways To Have a Healthy Divorce!

1. Whose drama are you playing out?

As soon as someone waves the divorce flags, lines are drawn and sides are taken. Divorce has become more contentious in our society than war in the Middle East. Our anger pours out over the splitting couple for all the crap we assume happened and the hurt our friend or family member is feeling.  Meanwhile, you, the one going through the trauma, are left to seethe.

Divorce has become a fight instead of a split and moving on. Divorce lawyers do not want you to be amicable. It does not serve them for your divorce to be amicable. A lawyer does not care about your future relationship with your soon to be ex. A divorce lawyer is there to get you what you want. If there is property, they want you to have the property. If there are kids, they want you to have the kids. Unfortunately, equitable distribution is namby-pamby language used when a couple is acting like adults. Divorce lawyers say things like, ‘sole custody’,’ child support’ and ‘alimony’.

The negotiation style of a divorce lawyer looks the same every time. Ask for everything. Trash the opponent. Then, negotiate.  In other words, striking fast and hard during a divorce will yield the most equitable results in the end. However, who heals the wounds caused by the divorce when the wounds of the marriage are still open?

Every divorce is started with injured parties. It hurts when something is over, the least of which is the cause of divorce. Whether it was infidelity, lack of communication, money, growing apart or abuse, the loss and grief over the failed marriage leaves the individual in emotional pain. If we listen to our lawyers, we must be ruthless. If we listen to our friends and family, they recommend the same. However, how does that serve you? Where is the integrity in painting your ex as an alcoholic or abuser or whatever will make you more sympathetic while trashing them?

Divorce does not need to be ugly.  We recommend divorce with integrity. Divorces like your kids are listening to everything you say. Divorce as if you are running for office. Be proud of how you behave and allow yourself to grieve the loss of the marriage without vilifying your ex. It takes two to make it work and it takes two to tear it apart. Take responsibility for your part. No more blaming. Remember the good times but only to remind you that at one point you loved your ex. There is no need to be abusive in divorce so discuss the terms and hire one lawyer to help with the paper-work. It will save you money, time and heart ache.

4 comments

  • Thank you for writing this! I worked in family law and can attest to just how ugly divorces can be. People become so obsessed with screwing the other party over that it just turns into a pissing contest and it’s really sad. You can have to happy people turn into the most hateful people during a divorce. If more people just went through it with integrity it would make things so much better for all parties involved, lawyers included.

  • It seems to me that people have a tendency to become very territorial when going through a divorce and perhaps those who don’t are more likely to come to an amicable agreement. However, I understand that when tensions are running high this may be easier said than done!

  • As a family law lawyer, I have to say that I have encountered a little bit of everything. I have seen those stubborn, emotionally damaged people, who refuse to cooperate with their soon to be ex spouse regardless of whether it’s in their children’s best interests or what the financial cost may be. I have also seen those lawyers who like to encourage that type of behavior to put money in their own pockets. Thankfully, I have also seen, both in my firm, and in other firms, lawyers who motivate people to try to differentiate between an emotional reaction and a reasonable reaction and encourage them to try and get along with the parent of their child(ren), it’s only fair to give those kids a chance to grow up well adjusted and balanced. Having two parents who fight all the time, use them as messengers, and expose them to negative energy, will deprive of them of their well deserved childhood. For the most part, I think that I have been lucky to deal with opposing attorneys who have the same pragmatic outlook that I do. It really isn’t fair to take advantage of someone when they’re going through such a difficult process.

  • Thank you for writing this. I am divorced. It was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced because of the emotions involved-fear, anger, grief, sadness. My ex-husband and I were able to be amicable but it was not easy. There were times I was tempted to make things difficult and I am sure he felt the same. However, going through it in a civil manner enabled me to begin the process of healing quicker than if I had made things ugly. Being ugly just postpones healing.
    Also, posts such as this help to change the way people perceive divorce. It’s not a shameful endeavor. It’s something that happens. Just like weddings, it happens to many of us.

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