A Happy Divorce

Divorce can be one of the most stressful, upsetting events in a person’s life.  But, does it have to be?
A February 13, 2012 Newsweek Article entitled:  “Divorce Parties on the Rise as Divorce Becomes Acceptable” by Rebecca Dana discusses the rise of amicable divorces.  Ms. Dana profiles one ex-couple who describe their divorce as a “happy, functional split” and another couple who had a joint divorce party and told their guests: “As we change the parameters of our relationship, our mutual admiration and caring is constant.”The article suggests that happy divorces are now possible because of a change in society’s view of divorce.  When there was a stigma connected with divorces, only couples experiencing very high conflict got divorced.  Now that there is no longer a stigma, even “moderately unhappy” couples divorce, and these people are able to have more amicable divorces.

It would also appear that the option of avoiding contentious divorce litigation is contributing to the rise of amicable divorces.  Parties can now get divorced with the aid of a mediator; they do not need to retain attorneys to aggressively litigate their issues, which almost always leads to more acrimony between the parties.  In mediation, the parties jointly select a mediator to act as a neutral and to assist the parties in resolving all the issues.  In Arizona, the mediator can submit all of the paperwork to the Court, and the parties do not even have to go to Court.  The parties spend a fraction of the cost of a litigated case, which also reduces the stress normally associated with divorce.

The article points out that it does take effort and a commitment for couples to have an amicable divorce.  The article quotes actress Fran Dresher (who has a sitcom entitled Happily Divorced, based on her own divorce) as saying:  “It takes as much energy to be happily divorced as it does to be happily married.”  Divorcing individuals benefit when they make the effort to have a more positive divorce and an ongoing respectful relationship.  This is especially true when the parties have children, who often suffer the most from a contentious divorce.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona@sglawaz.com.  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions. 

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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