Breaking up should not be hard to do!

Divorce should not have to be Ugly

The crippling consequences of an ugly divorce are instigated by spite, greed, and revenge. When dirty dealings on the part of one spouse incite the other to retaliate, then the tempest escalates, keeping the family embroiled in controversy that often continues long after the divorce is finalized. I know because I lived an ugly divorce with two little boys trapped in the middle.  In 1989,before I remarried, no one spoke of a friendly divorce–a few barely civil ones but mostly nasty ones.  It was 1986 when our divorce papers were filed and it took my ex-husband and I over a decade to finally come to our senses and choose to work together mediating our issues that had been a battle every time we went to court.  The sad part is that our two boys breathed the venom of our parental hostility. So many allegations were said that were not true and only said out of spite and revenge. It was the worst ten years of our lives.

It has been years since the divorce unfolded and both my ex-husband and I have made the full circle.  One day, I picked up the phone and called him and told him I was tired of fighting and could we sit down and talk. Many apologies were said and since that day back in 1996 was a day I will never ever forget.

Now years later, my ex-husband, his wife, me, my husband and our children hang out together and get along wonderfully. With weddings we have all have gracious in family matters that call for cordial cooperation.  Life is too short for it to be otherwise. It is so important to our children and looking back now I wish that we could had worked together to dissolve all the marital issues.  But, time can’t be turned back and all I can do is share my experience with others letting them know that using mediation as an alternative dispute resolution is the much better path to choose because divorce does not have to rear its ugly head and breaking up should not be hard to do!

Being consumed for many years in the family law adversary proceedings and then choosing alternative dispute resolution is what has brought me to the place I am today in my life as a legal document assistant and divorce mediator. Helping divorcing couples for the past decade working together one step, one day and one smile at a time to happier place in their lives.  I can’t tell you how many times that a couple as had a consultation with me but, still doesn’t get it and ends up retaining attorneys spending a ton of money and then months or a year later with no resolution, their credit cards maxed out and calling me for another appointment to assist them with their marital agreement and judgment documents. They tell me “Kym we should have listened to you the first time we came in”. I just listen and say “You’re here now together so let me help the both of you  move forward and finally work out an agreement”.   I can tell you that they hang on tight too and I have the Thank You cards in my lobby to prove it.

This is what I have seen:
Unsuspecting spouses who are dumped without warning feel entitled to self-righteous rage. You are devastated–in shock–when a rude process server suddenly appears at your work or home doorstep one day or night to serve you the dreaded divorce papers. The experience of rejection is akin to being tossed naked into the gates of hell.  Regrettably, revenge can spawn more trouble than you ever bargained for.  Recently, I had a client who had been rejected told me, “This is an insult. What does she expect–that I’m not going to fight back?”  Needless to say, that was my open door. “Thank you very much Mr. Client” I quickly, educated him on Mediation 101 and how the court system can be very ugly, mentally, draining, all public record and financially draining! In addition, I told him, “No one comes out a winner when battling all the marital issues in court and divorce does not have to be an ugly thing” Couples walked into a marriage with their head high full of the love and wonder of a bright marital future, usually as mature adults and in control. Therefore, if the marriage goes bad and can’t be mended then walk out of the relationship in the same manner, ending up with no grey hair, no high blood pressure, no black clouds, no wonder if it will ever end, and money in your pocket that could go towards the children college. Please, don’t get me wrong either because it is not all roses and happy happy. Yes, it can get a bit intense going back into the past and expressing the hurt that has built up for years.  However, it is by far one hundred times less stressful then how a couple would feel in consumed in the adversary divorce proceeding. Believe, I know remember I lived it!

Predictors of an Ugly Divorce

The 10 most common behaviors that incite retaliation and precipitate an ugly divorce follow:

  1. Stay suspicious of your mate and expect the worst possible outcome–and you are likely to get it.
  2. Blame your spouse–your mortal enemy–but not yourself.
  3. Accept no responsibility for the demise of your marriage.
  4. Remain defensive, inflexible and controlling.
  5. Insist on winning every argument at all costs.
  6. Be unwilling to cooperate with your soon-to-be ex.
  7. Refuse to communicate with your spouse.
  8. Talk only through your lawyer and remain inaccessible.
  9. Seek to punish and get revenge.

10. Get embroiled in a custody battle.

When couples operate within the margins of heated antagonism, how can there be any hope for a good divorce?

Good Divorce: Parting as Friends A Good Choice!

I know that the idea of parting as friends is not for every divorcing couple. Although, I wish it could be but, I understand that that some people want to nurse their wounds and keep an ocean of distance between them and their exes spouses.  I respect their wishes but, in the process shouldn’t have to cause hurtful gashes within the spirit, heart and soul.

The effort it takes for you and your spouse to be civil surely makes the divorce transition and recovery a merciful one. To be conciliatory is to lay rancor aside and spare your children and family unnecessary grief that drama can bring.

A good divorce can be yours if you and your soon-to-be ex are inspired to use common sense and treat one another with common decency.


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