COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE

Q: What are some common myths about divorce?

A: Just as in anything else, there’s plenty of misinformation floating around about divorce. Here are some common myths I’ve seen people buy into.

  1. Divorce Means War
    Many of our ideas come from movies. War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner might make good entertainment, but it’s not an accurate picture of most divorces. The escalation to merciless combat and bitter ugliness might make an entertaining story, but it’s not one in which you want to be a main character.
  2. Don’t Expect Spouse to Be Generous or Nice After You Separate
    Yes, there are many ugly divorces. We always read about the worst in the papers. This is National Domestic Violence Month and that kind of thing does happen. What you don’t hear about is the divorce where a couple still lives together until the departing one finds an affordable place to live. That happens, too. They are still friends and the children are part of each of their lives. It doesn’t make the newspapers, but it happens.
  3. Expect the Worst, Strike First

Some people believe the best way to win in court is to knock the other one down before they hit you. This adversarial attitude is counter-productive, especially if you have children. Your spouse will never stop being your child’s father or mother. This means you will be interacting with them the rest of your life. If you play to win by aggressive and destructive assaults, you’ll be digging a hole that may take a long time to get out of.

Perhaps for the moment you think it doesn’t matter, but over the long haul that edge will probably soften. Why make things harder than they already are?

4. If Your Spouse Hurts You, You Must Retaliate

Retaliation is how street gangs and hoodlums behave. Civilized people are above that, and you can be, too.

Collaboration will always produce a better outcome for everyone involved, especially when children are involved. It’s not a mistake to try to work together to produce a win-win-win outcome for you, your spouse and your kids.

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