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Myths, Realities, and Thoughts About the Divorce Rate

divorce statisticsEvery now and then, American media will plaster the U.S. divorce rate all over the news outlets. No doubt you’ve seen or heard the shocking news that the divorce rate in America is at 50%, meaning half of all marriages stay in tact; or, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, then  50% of American marriages end in divorce.

This news sparks floods of opinions from pundits from all sides and shades of every spectrum known to man; “Are Americans experiencing a moral dilemma,” or “Are we simply the epitome of depravity?” No one is quite sure, but here’s one thing we are sure of: The divorce rate has not hit cruise control at 50%.

Numbers Never Lie, Statistics on the Other Hand…

According to the U.S. Census Population compendia published in 2012, the percentage of divorced spouses in 2010 was 10.4%. Although the census data excluded members of the Armed Forces, 10.4% is quite a different figure from 50%.

So why on earth do people say the divorce rate is 50%? Well we’re glad you asked, because it’s really a strange and interesting quasi-science.

Calculating the Divorce Rate

Statisticians have various methods to calculate the divorce rate, according to the National Numeracy Network.

  • Method 1: Calculate the ratio of divorces and marriages per year

  • Method 2: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout the entire population

  • Method 3: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout all marriages

  • Method 4: Calculate the percentage of divorces occurring in a group of people who married within the same year

According to a New York Times article, most social scientists (as they are called) prefer to use Method 4 to find the current divorce rate and project the future divorce rate. But, as it turns out, the divorce rate is very time-specific and cannot reliably be used to predict future divorce rates. The reason is because each generation has different social variables that influence their marriage and divorce rate.

Custom Divorce Rates

Like every person realizes one day, there are multiple sides to a single story; divorce is no different. Each generation has different life-altering events and obstacles to overcome, just like each generation has different famed cartoons or celebrities.

A Wall Street Journal essay, published in 2011, put it best: “Every generation has its life-defining moments . . . For much of my generation– Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980– there is only one question: “When did your parents get divorced?” “

The essay included a graph from the National Marriage Project, depicting the rises and falls of the divorce rate. The points of time are connected by a continuous line, but in the light of the highly time-specific nature of the divorce rate I wonder, “Should we depict the divorce rate as a single, long-term event?” I also wonder how the projected 50% divorce rate affects couples currently on the fence about filing for divorce.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the divorce rate? Is a reliable indicator of the state of America’s family structure, or should we even put stock in the idea of a divorce rate?

The Evolution of Child Custody

history of child custodyLittle more than a decade ago, it was estimated that 90% of child custody was settled with the mother gaining full custody of the children. This obvious imbalance in custodial arrangements has made fathers all over America wonder at the horrible injustice and sex discrimination perpetrated by American courts.

But the courts didn’t just wake up one day and decide mothers were better parents; and family court judges are not battling Oedipus complexes. The reason about 90% of mothers received child custody in the past is due to a little thing called the Tender Years Doctrine. But we’ll get to the Tender Years Doctrine in a bit; first we have to make our way through a short history of the evolution of child custody law.

From Ancient Rome to 2013 America

Roman common law, established around 439 B.C., dictated that children of a marriage were the property of the father. This meant if a Roman husband and wife divorced, the children stayed with the father and the mother left.

Jump ahead hundreds of years to English common law, established around 1000 A.D., which upheld the same child custody outline as Roman common law. Simply carry the same basic common laws over into the founding of America, and you have the basis of American custody laws. The law theory pertaining to child custody was that the father was the only suitable parent to teach the children the ways of the world.

However, hundreds of years later during the time of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800′s, the question of what was best for the child became the focus.

Tender Years Doctrine

The Tender Years Doctrine replaced old Roman and English common law child custody arrangements by giving mothers custody of children, until the age of 6. This change was spurred by the Industrial Revolution’s impact on family structure.

The Industrial Revolution caused men to seek jobs away from the remote villages the English people lived in up until that point. The absence of husbands and fathers forced women and mothers to handle the housekeeping and child rearing completely by themselves. When divorces occurred during this time, the courts saw how impossible it would be for fathers to continue to take full custody of the children.

The Tender Years Doctrine stated that children under the age of 6 were too young to leave their mother’s love and care. However, once children grew older, they were of sufficient age and maturity to follow their fathers to industrial towns to work. In America, the Tender Years Doctrine extended the mother’s custody indefinitely, which is the cause of the statistic describing mothers retaining child custody 90% of the time after a divorce.

Do We Have a New Doctrine?

The 1960′s marked the beginning of the divorce spike, which peaked in the 1980′s; but the divorce revolution also sparked a child custody revolution in the U.S. The new child custody doctrine is defined not by the gender of the custodian (a.k.a. the parent granted with child custody), but by the best interests of the child.

So far, this new “best interests” custody doctrine adopted by American family law courts has created the joint custody option. The first joint custody statute was implemented in California in 1979; by 1991, joint custody was written into more than 40 state statutes.

But here’s the catch: Many people are still seeing mothers gaining preferential custody rights in the divorce process. This claim produces many questions, like “Is this still true today?”

Check back with us later this week for the answer to that question.

Get Divorced On Other People’s Money

money for divorceThe average cost of a divorce in America is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $30,000; the scary part of this estimate is that the figures represent the average cost of a divorce and not the cost range of a divorce. For people long-embroiled in a divorce battle, this figure may seem like but a pleasant memory in comparison to the figure they are currently facing.

It is no secret that divorces can be the nastiest experiences in the world, especially when robust finances are involved. But what about those spouses whose separate finances are less than robust? What chance do they stand in getting a fair shake in this expensive legal system? These are the very questions that birthed a new business sector called divorce financing.

People Will Finance Your Divorce?

In case you were wondering if you had missed something in the business world, divorce financing is not a business with a long history. In fact, divorce financing has only been around since 2009. Currently, there are two major players who are solely in the divorce financing market, BBL Churchill and Balance Point, and they each take a unique approach to divorce financing.

The Church of Divorce

BBL Churchill basically loans clients the money needed to cover all the legal expenses incurred during their divorce, and any necessary living expenses. After receiving a money retainer, BBL Churchill will loan divorcees anywhere from $2,000 to $1,000,000 if the divorcee meets the requirements.

To take out a loan with BBL Churchill, a divorcee must be represented by a qualified divorce attorney, have a joint net asset pool of $400,000 or more, and must have been married for at least 12 months to the divorcing spouse.

The BBL Churchill loans have a fixed interest rate for the term of the loan, and do not have to be paid back in monthly increments. The loan is repaid in its entirety by the divorce settlement.

Finding Balance in Divorce

Balance Point Divorce Funding invests in clients’ divorces, rather than loaning money to clients. The money from Balance Point is used for hiring attorneys, forensic accountants, and asset investigators, and for the client’s necessary living expenses. Balance Point usually invests about $200,000 in their client’s divorce.

To be funded by Balance Point, clients must have combined marital assets of $2 million or more, must not have marital assets affected by pre- or post-nuptial agreements, and be in need of $200,000 or more in funding.

If Balance Point decides to invest in a client, the invested money will be returned in full and more upon reaching an agreeable divorce settlement.

With the cost of living inching up each year, it’s no wonder divorce financing and other legal financing became a thriving new market. Just two years ago, legal financing companies were estimated to have $1 billion invested in clients’ legal actions. Divorce financing may just be the future of divorce in America; we only hope other divorce financing companies that crop up operate ethically.

If you were in a divorce with a spouse who out-earned you, and you needed money to get a fair settlement, would you hire a divorce financier?

Financial Life After Divorce for Women

When I was a young teenage girl, a nice older lady who was working at a grocery store got into a brief conversation with me about college education. She said, “Make sure you get a college degree to put in your back-pocket, in case you end up having to fully support yourself.” I didn’t find out the details of her life, but it’s probable that she was warning me to protect myself against a situation in which she had found herself entangled.

Rewind to about 50 years ago. The reality was most women didn’t think too much of careers or earning a living because that was, and perhaps still is in certain people’s view, the sole responsibility of their husbands. But as time went on from that point, divorce went on the rise. So has the rate of women receiving college degrees and entering the workforce.

Frequently for women, filing for divorce means more changes in lifestyle than separating from a lover– it means taking charge of their financial lives and becoming independent. These ladies are in good company, since the trend of women in the workforce is on the rise globally, divorced or not.

Bringing Home the Bacon

The cost of living is an expensive feat (an understatement for those residing in places like California or New York City). Those going through the divorce process would also agree, which is why it’s not only important to find ways to lower the cost of divorce, but also make sure you are able to support yourself as a newly single person with one lonely income.

Financial independence is increasingly important for women, who are still in the process of obtaining equal status and pay within the male-dominated work environment. They are making significant strides, as of late, and are predicted to do so even more in the near future.  Not only are 4 in 10 global workers female, an expected 1 billion more will become paid workers within the next ten years.

Educational feats provide similar and even more impressive statistics that show the increasing presence and potential for women in the economy. Outshining men within the developed world, 6 out of 10 college diplomas are earned by women. It seems the encouragement of the grocery store lady and others like her has worked.

Why Female Breadwinners Are Necessary

The continually high rate of divorce in the last of half of the 20th, and the beginning of the 21st century means women who are left single, and many times with children, are no longer dependent on men for their own sustenance. On top of this fact, it appears rare in the current economy to see even a marriage-intact household fruitfully surviving on only one income. Women are stepping up to the plate, not only for themselves but for the sake of economic progress within the American home and worldwide.

Do Fathers Have Custody Rights?

fathers rightsParents: Have any of you parents found yourself with your foot shoved far into your mouth? Yeah, so has every other person at one point in time. But trips to the playground seem to coincide with sudden cravings for the taste of feet. The huddle of parents watching their children play is a breeding ground for innocent-enough small talk, until one person makes the assumption that the divorced father just has visitation.

Each person in the group suddenly is interested in the look of their shoes, eyes widen, and lips slowly are pressed into a thin line. If the seemingly-innocent comment was fresh of your lips, your eyes mirror the apology currently flowing from your mouth.

The Truth About Father Custodians

If the father had heard this before, and is aware of the statistics, they probably were not too offended. After all, the 2009 U.S. census reports only about 17.8% of fathers gain full custody rights of the children after a divorce. It was just your luck that you bumped into the 1 father out of 6 who was the custodial parent. But, if you are the father fighting for custody, don’t let past statistics guide your choice to fight the good custodial fight.

Historically, fathers were the preferred custodian of any children in a divorce or marital split (which we discussed at length in a previous blog); but at the turn of the century, mothers became the championed custodial parents. Ever since the switch in child custody doctrines (read the blog and you’ll understand), the number of custodial mothers have all but stomped out the number of custodial fathers.

In custody battles, fathers may dejectedly say or think, “What’s the point of fighting for custody? The courts never favor the father.” But we are here to say, “Buck up, soldier. These days, fathers have just as many rights to custody as mothers.”

Fighting the Good Fight

We don’t normally endorse any kind of animosity or battling, but when a child’s true best interests are at stake, we fully support fighting the good fight. And besides, single fatherhood is quickly gaining momentum in American society.

In 1993, Indiana became the first American state to pass a child custody law in favor of joint parenting plans. Since then, the other U.S. states have passed similar custody laws championing joint parenting plans. As a result, the amount of single fathers grew by 37.9 percent between the years of 1990 and 2000; the rate continued to increase by 27.3% between the years of 2000 and 2010.

The Pen is Mightier

Although the world we live in might seem to enjoy horrific wars, the pen really is mightier than the sword; this is true especially during a custody battle. Nowadays, courts are focusing more on the best interests of the child, instead of the genders of the parents and child involved.

The courts generally consider the best interests of the child to be factors like:

  • maintaining the same standard of living

  • living in a stable, familiar environment

  • living with the parent who cared and provided for the child on a daily basis

If the father provide examples of all the factors above (and the other state-specific requirements), then he has a good chance of gaining custody. However, don’t take our word as divorce law. If you’re embroiled in a heated custody battle, you should probably seek legal guidance.

We try our best to be helpful and informative at MyDivorceDocuments.com, but we can’t cover everything without hearing from you. If you have a question or comment, let us know in the comment box below. We’ll do our best to get you the best information available.

The Right and Wrong of Conflict

78057026Whether filing for divorce or not, relationships usually deal with conflict at one point or another. Anyone who has ever been in any kind of argument knows it feels good to be right, and not so good to be wrong. However, psychology research has shown that the right and wrong, or “the truth,” of relational conflict is much more relative and fuzzy than we tend to believe.

When an incident or disagreement takes place, there is almost always two, or perhaps multiple, sides of the story. Each person believes their version of the truth is right and any other is wrong. But what if all versions are right, or all versions are wrong? Or what if there is no right or wrong?

These questions are probably more frustrating than enlightening, so I’ll go ahead and get to the point now.

Cognitive Dissonance: The “I Am Always Right” Syndrome

“People selectively hear and see what matches their beliefs and experiences,” explains Christina Curtis, a leadership coach who writes for Psychology Today. “They then lace each action of the event with meaning, and seek validation from those around them.”

In psychological terms, the above theory is called cognitive dissonance, when you find or sometimes actively create supportive evidence that you are right to avoid any feelings of being wrong. It’s a self-protective defense mechanism we use to avoid those negative feelings and instead keep ourselves standing in an angelic, heroic light.

The downside of this mechanism is the way it becomes destructive in relationships, especially the most intimate, conflict-ridden relationship of all: Marriage. Playing the right vs. wrong game allows disagreements to escalate and belittle the opponent, preventing quick resolution and reconciliation that can follow under ideal circumstances.

Victim vs. Villain

Another way of terming what is right and wrong within relational conflicts is calling out the victim and the villain. The victim is the right one and, of course, the villain is the one in the wrong. In order to protect yourself from being wrong, the other person slides into a downward spiral in your eyes, as you find evidence that they’ve been wrong all along and have characteristically selfish, villainous tendencies.

The main problem with this conflict approach is the way cognitive dissonance emphasizes the negative and downplays the positive in a partner. The victim ends up ignoring certain facts while self-servingly highlighting only the facts that support viewing the other as a villain. Rather than alleviating conflict, it’s simply worsening it.

The Potential Upside of Conflict

By escalating conflict, the two opponents bypass the opportunity to work through it thoughtfully and come out the other end stronger as a couple. Researcher John Gottman “found that stable marriages consistently had 5 times more positive behaviors than negative behaviors during an exchange.”

Even though there may be negative things to express during marital conflict, or conflict that occurs while going through the divorce process, focusing on all the positive facts about the other person produces more positive results. Seeing conflict with objective, all-encompassing eyes, instead of biased, self-serving ones helps you see all sides of the story, not just one version of the truth.

How does the theory of cognitive dissonance affect your view of relational conflict?

Women’s Divorce Rights: Progress in Uganda

skd284550sdcAlthough there are many circulating opinions regarding divorce in the U.S., we are lucky enough to have fair divorce laws in this country, whether you’re a man or woman. Until about a decade ago in Uganda, their law made it unfairly difficult and rare for a wife to initiate divorcing her husband, while letting husbands divorce wives quite easily. Now that Ugandan laws are changing, and representatives are standing up for the rights of women, the oppression of women in divorce is finally lifting.

Change of Law, Change of Heart

Cases of women initiating divorce in Uganda have been on the rise ever since 2004, when a court got rid of a sexist divorce law. The law allowed a man to swiftly divorce his wife merely upon proof of adultery, while a woman only had a case if she could prove her husband had committed sodomy, desertion, or bestiality.

Now women can file for divorce on account of abuse, adultery, or for any other matter in the marriage that lowers their quality of life. As a result, legal officials and activists report, the number of divorce cases overall has multiplied, showing how needful the unfair law repeal actually was.

Thanks to sympathetic Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, even more progressive changes may take effect within the year. Lawmakers are working to pass a law that would solidify men and women as equals within marriage, including making marital rape an offense, and securing equal distribution of property upon divorce.

Taking a Stand

Referring to how he likes to turn his courtroom into a classroom, Ugandan court magistrate David Batema pronounces,“[t]he major aim of the lesson should be to point out to the man that marriage, as of now, is a partnership of equals.”

Batema is a forward-thinking man who, among other activists and legal authorities, is admirably standing up for women, thereby helping to create a better, more egalitarian future. Many times during feminist revolutions like this one, oppressed women are the ones leading the way. It’s refreshing to see males stepping up to the plate, defending and empowering women.

Batema believes in protecting women’s freedom of choice, saying “that’s why in my career I have never refused to grant a divorce where one partner wants it,” he said. “Marriage is supposed to be voluntary.”

Confronting Stigma

Still lingering among traditionalist and church official thinking in the conservative, East African country is that the rise in divorce is shameful. What this kind of opinion disregards as unimportant is the overwhelming instances and likelihood of abuse from which these women are rightfully escaping.

As Maria Nassali, a family law teacher and activist, emphasizes, “[w]e need to kill the stigma associated with divorce. She’s not being selfish when she gets a divorce. She’s not being immoral. She just wants to be a human being.”

When a culture teaches and expects women to be submissive to their husbands, and disables them from making choices about their own well-being, the women are deprived of human rights. Thankfully, voices like Batema and Nassali’s are being heard, and the culture of female submission in Uganda is changing for the better.

Divorce Talk: Telling the Kids

If children understand and identify with anything, they understand and identify with the fictional characters in their favorite movies and books. Northbrook psychologist Dr. Leigh Weisz, who specializes in children’s issues, understands this better than anyone. Weisz also understands what children need to hear, and how they need to hear about their parent’s divorce, which is why she wrote “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy,” a children’s book about divorce.

From One Kangaroo to Another

From the moment the relationship between the parents starts to become strained, to the moment the parents utter the word “divorce,” the children intuitively sense there is trouble in paradise. Similar to how animals have an innate sense of direction, children have a sensitive barometer of the emotional climate in a room.

This superpower all children have is one of the innovative elements discussed in “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy.” In fact, the book was written because Weisz could not find the perfect book to address divorce for her office. “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy” was written to help children cope with divorce, and for parents to understand how to approach the topic with their children.

Tips to Talking with Your Child

An article on PyschologyToday.com put some practical research to an even more practical purpose. Researchers interviewed children individually at length about their parent’s divorce, and the children’s responses have been published to provide parents with divorce pointers. However, we won’t completely ignore Weisz’s helpful info in this list, so don’t be surprise if you see a mix of both source’s advice.

Tip #1: Obtain some good vibrations. Take into account that your child is picking up signals like a metal detector on a volcanic island. Also take into account that although your child is, well, a child, their instincts kick into high gear to fix problems that are being ignored in the family. So do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself and to your child during this difficult time. Also do not forget to emphasize, reiterate, repeat, and go over again the fact that the divorce is not the child’s responsibility or fault.

Tip #2: Plan the family pow-wow. As it turns out, children vividly remember when they were told of the divorce, and they remember it forever. It’s suggested to actually give some thought, if not plan detail for detail, where and how you will deliver the news. Compose yourself for the task so your children don’t forever remember their parents blurting out through sobs they are filing for divorce.

Tip #3: Don’t direct the flow of feelings. As a parent it’s hard not to process your child’s feelings for them; like when they fall off their bike and run to you with a scared, confused expression on their face, the common response from you is, “Oh, that scared you, didn’t it?”

When having the divorce talk, do not try to help them out with their feelings as if divorce is a bike fall. Let your child tell you how they feel, and don’t try to fix the feeling just yet; this is something they will have to heal for themselves over time, and no help from you will make it any easier. Also, you cannot know how the child is feeling until they pin it down and tell you. By trying to paint them as sad or hurt, when they are just shocked, but understanding, it will make it harder for them to honestly face their feelings with you later.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are mounds of other tips about breaking the big news; some of these advice tidbits are sought out and some are rather forced, but we hope these were both palatable and helpful.

If you’ve been there and done that, and want to share what worked for you, feel free to share your experience below.

Hitting the Snooze Button: How Lack of Sleep Affects Relationships

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We know that getting enough sleep is an important part of being healthy. My doctor tells me that persistent sleep deprivation can not only put a temperate damper on your brain performance and immune system, it can lead to more serious health problems down the road. What is relatively new to the discussion of sleep, however, is how it affects significant relationships, namely marriage.

Recent studies show that lack of sleep can impair important aspects of caring communication within marriage. Not getting enough shut-eye is shown to increase attitudes of selfishness and ingratitude regarding spouses, which in a broader perspective may eventually contribute to filing for divorce.

Waking Up on the Wrong Side of the Bed

Researchers at UC Berkeley studied 60 couples between the ages of 18 and 56 to see what kind of effect inefficient sleep had on feelings of gratitude.

In one version of the experiment, each partner kept a diary recording changes in sleep quality and the following interactions with their significant other. Another study videotaped the couples tackling problem-solving tasks together, evidencing that those who had a poor night’s sleep showed less appreciation to their partner. Results showed that in both experiments, sleep deprivation meant less thank-yous and decreased attentive validation between lovers.

As lead researcher Amie Gordon explains, “Poor sleep may make us more selfish as we prioritize our own needs over our partner’s.”

The Ills of Modern Life

The causes of not getting enough sleep are innumerable. Observe a typical city-dweller, corporate office worker, or yourself, and you’ll notice what busy lives we lead. From rush hour traffic to fast-food for dinner, everyone seems in a rush and strapped for precious time, not to mention the constant stimulation we receive from the technologies of internet and iPads. All of these things have the power to compromise sleep quality, and consequently our health and relationships in the process.

“Poor quality sleep and insufficient sleep can negatively affect mood and judgment, making us cranky and less apt to greet the inevitable ups and downs of life with perspective and an even keel,” says Michael J. Breus, clinical psychologist and Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. This depletion of emotional willpower can leak into our most important relationships of all.

Sleep and Marriage

Married couples as well as people who have gone through the jarring divorce process may not attribute relational or marital problems to lack of sleep, and it rightly would be irrational to place a large part of the blame on it. But it’s the little things that count in the long run.

Lack of sleep could be a result of an individual’s lifestyle, a kind of busy life that is letting certain aspects of emotional and physical health fall to the wayside. Daily habits can turn into a vicious cycle of poor sleep leading to poor emotional health and neglecting the significant details of your romantic relationship, such as expressing the loving salve of gratitude. Taking the proper time to care for yourself, by doing things like maintaining healthy sleeping habits, will strengthen and renew other aspects of your life, including the relationships with those you love.

Collaborative Divorce: Stuck Between Contested and Uncontested

78630844The availability of the collaborative divorce process is gaining steam as more states sign it into law. A less adversarial form of divorce, collaborative divorce still allows the couple to make all separation agreements without sitting, or heatedly standing, in a courtroom.

Although uncontested divorce is the most ideal case in which spouses can settle things peacefully on their own, a collaborative agreement involving two lawyers keeps the situation out of any court drama that often ensues during contested cases. Thankfully, a new collaborative divorce law was just passed in Washington, solidly making available a more peaceful divorce experience for all involved.

Terminology Lesson

Just so we’re all on the same page, here are definitions of most kinds of divorce:

Uncontested Divorce: A divorce in which the couple agrees on all allocations of marital property, child custody, child support, and/or alimony. Uncontested divorce essentially eliminats the need for lawyers or a judge in court. An uncontested divorce usually gives a no-fault grounds for divorce.

Contested Divorce: The opposite of uncontested, contested divorce means the couple cannot make a settlement agreement on their own due to disputes. Lawyers and a judge are needed to make the settlement for them. The process is longer and more expensive.

Mediated Divorce: A divorce where the couple hires a mediator, who is usually a divorce attorney trained in mediation, to help them settle allocations agreeably.

Collaborative Divorce: Similar to mediated divorce, except the couple hires two lawyers, one for each spouse, to help them come to an agreement and draft the divorce settlement.

Good News for Washington

Despite its effectiveness, the collaborative divorce option is only enacted in a few U.S. states. One state that just made it available and signed it into law is Washington, to the joy of many supporters.

Called the Uniform Collaborative Law Act, it enables couples to utilize mental health professionals and child specialists as well as lawyers to make the out-of-court option run even smoother. Child therapist Kristin Little remarks, “You’re helping people to be good parents through the divorce, so you’re actually preventing a lot of the damage that can occur during the divorce.”

Indeed, going through divorce is especially hard on children, who tend to be caught in the eye of the storm. “I have been doing family law litigation 25 years and court is no place for families,” says Washington based lawyer, Cynthia First. When disputes need to be resolved themselves, leaving them out of the court’s hands means less hassle and more peace.

Amicable Splitting

The best way to settle any conflict or disagreement is through reasonable compromise and speedy resolution. That kind of attitude and problem-solving leads to feelings of goodwill for the ex-spouse and life after divorce. Even though spouses often have serious disagreements over what will happen to their life’s possessions during divorce, they can find a way to temper them independently through options like collaborative divorce. The collaborative divorce process frees up more time and resources for the divorcee to focus on other things, like moving on.