What should you do if you find yourself at the crossroads of divorce?
A master mediator offers tips for couples considering calling it quits.
1) The advice that I tell people who are at the crossroads of divorce is
—”Fight for your Family!”
a) I encourage people at the crossroads of divorce to do EVERYTHING in
their power to make it work. This does not necessarily mean that they will
stay married. It means that they engage in a process that lets them look their
kids in the eyes and themselves and say, “You know I tried everything.”
b) (This may include moving, getting therapy or treatment, getting rid of
the computer if pornography is an issue, or anything else in their power to
make a change.)
c) Three cases come to mind as an example.
i) One woman discovered her husband was having an affair. Instead of
making the issue public, she told only the closest friends. It was a difficult
path but she was able to work through the issue. Five years later, she says
staying married was the best decision she made and the couple is very happy
in their marriage.
ii) Another couple had a spouse with a drug addiction. He had racked up
the credit card bills and the addiction was interfering with his work. The wife
went to a support group. The husband got the help he needed. After a
separation, the parties reconciled. Both parties are glad they made that
iii) Another woman was shocked when her husband told her that he
wanted to divorce. She worked and worked to make things change in their
marriage. She sought religious counseling and he refused to come. She did
everything in her power to reconcile. The parties ended up divorcing. She
wondered why she had felt that she should try so hard. She realized it was
about her own accountability to herself to reflect back and know that she
tried everything in her power.
2) The studies show that divorce does not increase people’s happiness but
staying married does. Long-term unhappiness in marriage is unusual.
a) One study showed that of those individuals who reported they were
unhappy in their marriage—2 out of 3 of the individuals reported happiness
five years later.
b) In the same study those divorced were no happier five years later, even
if they were remarried.
3) A decision to divorce should not be made in haste. Nationally about 1
person in 7 says that they have recently thought about divorce. Of those who
stay married—94% report that they are glad they stayed together.
a) Abuse is not a common reason given for divorce.
b) One study in Minnesota showed that 10% of matched spouses both
wanted to try and reconcile even in the latest stages of their divorce. This
study was done anonymously, so the couples may or may not have known
the desire to reconcile.
c) I give the analogy of the snowball fight when people ask me whether
they should divorce. You can throw the first snowball, but after that you
cannot control or end the snowball fight, once you start it. One man asked
me if he should file for divorce. I told him that if he is certain in his decision,
because after you start the divorce process it is difficult to get out of the
decision. After he initiated the divorce, he wanted to reconcile but it was not
possible. Too many people had gotten involved with the divorce and they
were too far down the road.
4) If a couple does divorce, I encourage them to work out the details of the
divorce in a cooperative way and try their best to be good co-parents of their
children. I encourage the parties to mediate (with or without attorneys) the
details of their divorce if the parties are having difficulties deciding on the
specific details of the divorce.
a) Those who divorce with children will have a connection the rest of their
lives. I encourage clients to shift their marriage relationship into a business
relationship. They are in the business of raising good children.
b) Efforts should be made to resolve concerns regarding their divorce.
Using mediation is a great tool to help resolve issues. Lengthy battles in
court can be emotionally, physically and financially exhausting. The effort,
time and money is better spent on the children. The law gives guidelines to
help couples make decisions regarding their children, assets, debts, and
For a free PDF of the Booklet for those at the Crossroads of divorce go to:
or call 801-526-9317