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What are some tips for an emotionally healthy divorce?


The words "healthy" and "divorce" may seem to be unlikely partners. After all, many divorces stem from a host of other negative events and emotions. However, it is possible for couples in Colorado to divorce in an emotionally healthy manner.

One way to settle one's divorce issues is through mediation. Unlike litigation, where there is typically a "winner" and a "loser," mediation offers couples a means to work through their divorce legal issues together. The goal of mediation is to reach a settlement that is agreeable to both spouses. Moreover, the communication and cooperation necessary to make mediation successful can set the groundwork for any further interactions the spouses might have with each other after the divorce. This may be especially good if a couple has children.

While divorce can be difficult for children, there are steps parents can take to help with this transition. First, parents should try not fight in front of their child. Also, parents should present a unified front when discussing the divorce with their child. Parents should also try not to make any sudden changes to a child's life -- let them know a few weeks beforehand if they are going to move or if a parent is moving out. Finally, keep in mind that children need to be able to maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with both parents. Some parents may find that there are educational programs they can participate in that will help them improve their relationship with their child during and after the divorce.

Of course, communication can be difficult when a couple is divorcing. Before beginning mediation or out-of-court negotiations, it can help for a spouse to write down all the topics they want to cover. This will give them a "script" to follow that can help them avoid reacting purely on emotion. Sometimes mediation or negotiations do not even have to be face-to-face. A mediator can go back and forth between the separate rooms the parties are in, attorneys can negotiate on their clients' behalf and even technology such as email can be used as a form of communication.

In the end, while getting a divorce is a naturally emotional event, it is possible to work through divorce issues in a calm and rational manner. Attorneys can help their clients pursue an amicable divorce that results in a settlement that their clients feel good about.

Source: American Psychological Association, "Healthy divorce: How to make your split as smooth as possible," accessed Feb. 26, 2018

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