“The Future of Divorce”
By Greta Hassel, MFT & Coach, and Dennis Cohen, Esq. & Mediator
For almost as long as there has been marriage, there has been divorce. Early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans practiced divorce, and even Deuteronomy, written approximately 4000 years ago, has explicit rules and procedures about divorce. In fact, a recent discovery of cave paintings in Southern France depict an obviously distraught man and woman fighting over cave furniture, with a warrior standing on either side of them baring his teeth and brandishing a club.
Funny how little divorce has changed over the ages. Couples are still fighting over the kids, the property and everything else they can drag into the dispute. Although society accepts divorces more readily now than it did 50 years ago, there is still a tremendous sense of failure and disappointment over the breakdown of a marriage. Rage and recrimination are more the norm than peaceful resolution. As the financial and emotional costs rise, the only consistent stopping point is when the money is no longer available to pay the lawyers.
There is some good news. As couples have begun to opt for less fight and more talk, we’ve seen the emergence and growth of mediation and collaborative divorce. Almost universally an improvement over litigation, these approaches put decision making in the hands of the interested parties. The savings in time and money, lessening of stress and emotional trauma and higher compliance with orders, all make the cooperative route to divorce a standout victor over the traditional battling warriors approach.
But then what? A good cooperative divorce is many times better than an fiercely fought battle. However, without taking steps to clean up the emotional mess left by the breakup, couples are more likely than not to have ongoing problems in their post-divorce relationship. This translates as co-parenting problems, non-compliance with orders, future court battles, stress on kids, communication problems, etc. As to any new relationship, heaven help the new mate who has to deal with the baggage of this breakdown as they try and build a new “happily ever after”. Clearly something more is needed. Enter Transformational Divorce.
“Transformational Divorce”, Karen Kahn Wilson’ 2003 book brought a name to the emerging trend toward overcoming and minimizing the trauma of divorce, through professional intervention and intentional work on the part of divorcing couples. Important advances in this arena brought by Constance Ahrons’ book, “The Good Divorce”, Debbie Ford’s “Spiritual Divorce” and Judge Michele Lowrence’s “The Good Karma Divorce”. Also aligned is Katherine Woodward Thomas in her work, “Conscious Uncoupling.” An experiential version of the work of transformational divorce is being offered in Los Angeles in September 2012 as a weekend seminar for divorcing and divorced couples wishing to take a giant step beyond the traditional end of their marriage.
The Transformational Divorce seminar takes participants through the finality of their marriage and, at times more critically, the dissolution of their hopes and dreams. TD provides a process of healing and completion, acknowledgment with understanding and apology with forgiveness. By providing an intentional basis for the new relationship (as co-parents or friends, or by blessing and moving on) couples have the chance to regain their integrity and rebuild a foundation of trust.
Transformational Divorce challenges and supports couples to replace the traditional feelings of bitterness, mistrust and hopelessness with a transformed sense of cooperation, friendship, and, yes, possibly even love. More fundamentally, it’s a chance to start fresh, by leaving behind the pain and debris of the past. Of course, like anything in life, it’s a matter of perspective and choice. For those who see their way to Transformational Divorce, the choice is to complete the past and create a new future.