Divorce: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Divorce: What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Two people get married

because they love each other. They begin a shared journey. Sometimes the
journey ends as planned, “’til death do us part.”  Sometimes one or both feels that the
relationship is over and asks for a divorce.
I stand for the loving divorce.

Yes. It is possible.

A wife who has raised a
family and supported her husband and then, looking at how she wants to spend
the second half of her life, decides she needs to be free.  A man who dutifully provided for his family
and worked long hours starting his own business may come to see that his
marriage needs to end.  These and many
other divorces are not rooted in anger, hatred or betrayal. They are a product
of growth and can be built on a foundation of love.

How does one divorce from a
place of love? First, be gentle on yourself. Don’t criticize or judge yourself.
A loving divorce means that you love yourself, you love your children, you love
your spouse and you have concluded that divorce is the most loving thing that
you can do for all concerned.

Next, solidify your support
system – friends, family, therapist, coach. Make sure these people stand for
your highest good and are aligned with loving your spouse despite the divorce.
If your brother says, “I never liked him anyway. Make the bastard pay!” do not
consider your brother part of your support system.

Perhaps most importantly,
hire a lawyer who honors the love that the two of you once had.  You have probably heard horror stories about
divorce proceedings ruining people’s relationships. Take heed. The process of
dismantling a relationship is painful enough. You don’t want the process to add
more pain.  Your lawyer will guide you
through the legal process. As you do with any service provider, ask for
referrals. Look for people who divorced with dignity and grace.  Therapists know the lawyers who stir the pot
and those that calm the waters.

If you and your spouse still
communicate well and can work things out on your own, develop your own
agreements and show them to a non-adversarial attorney.  Consider mediation, a process where a neutral
third party helps couples reach agreement outside of the court system.

If appropriate, investigate
collaborative law, wherein the goal is to maximize the benefits of both
spouses. In collaborative law, you each hire a lawyer to represent you but
those lawyers commit to settling the case and agree to withdraw if either party
wants to start fighting.  Although a
growing number of attorneys use “collaborative” to describe their style, keep
in mind that in Illinois a Collaborative Fellow has completed at least 40 hours
of mediation training and committed to ongoing skills training.

From October 18-22, 2012,
for instance, Chicago
is playing host to the International Academy of
Collaborative Professionals for their annual Networking and Educational Forum. It
is the largest and most comprehensive interdisciplinary conference in the field
of Collaborative Practice, which began in the 1980s.

Divorcing from a place of
love takes into account more than just the duties, rights and responsibilities
that people have under the law.  Some
collaborative cases employ the services of mental health professionals to coach
clients and their loved ones. Financial experts can work like mediators to help
you both find a mutually beneficial financial outcome. Using a team takes
collaborative law to an even deeper level of love and healing.

While divorce ends a
marriage, when done well it can mark a new, fresh start for each spouse, their
children and other loved ones. What’s Love got to do with it?  As much as you are willing to let it.

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