We live in an era during which couples seem to end their marriages almost as often as they enter them. Sixty years ago, faith, culture and logistics inhibited divorce. Now, with $330 and some paperwork, couples can head to the courthouse and file for divorce without much effort.
But, creating an amicable divorce takes some work. For couples without children, divorce becomes primarily about fairly separating assets and debts. For those with children, the court can become a battlefield if certain steps are not taken to avoid that disaster.
The healthy divorce, no matter who leaves who, is a process by which two people not only separate their worldly belongings, but also develop mutual agreement about where and with whom their children will spend time. But, there's the rub- often people divorce because they can't seem to get on the same page, and they can't seem to agree on much. So, how do you get two people, who aren't communicating well enough to stay married, to create agreement about who and how their children will be raised?
Divorce counseling is a terrific strategy for averting divorce disaster. Through a series of counseling sessions, couples are coached through the primary decisions that must be made about home, finances, belongings and kids. Most divorce counseling inhibits all discussion about past failures and dramas, and instead emphasizes the ways in which couples can employ their skills to manage the present and future.
Divorce counseling typically incorporates:
Instruction in communication and negotiation skills
Basic behavior modification (how to avoid bad habits with one another)
Basic parenting skills
Divorce procedures 101
Determining whether or not an attorney or mediator is needed
Documenting the inventory of the shared home (digital camera and a spreadsheet are a requirement!)
Identifying desires and needs of each partner and of the children
Determining where each party will live and what will become of the family home
Preparing appropriate court documents
Consulting with a Financial Planner for the equitable division of assets
As with the end of any relationship, the goal of divorce is amicable separation with the least amount of negativity. Despite whatever urge you may have to exact revenge on your former partner, using divorce to do so will only really hurt you. Your divorce is an opportunity to begin a new life, one that you can design and implement. No matter how you feel at the outset, independence and freedom can be liberating and enjoyable!