What is a successful divorce?
Is success measured in the amount of money you walk away with?
Is it measured by how badly, deeply and truly you’ve hurt the other?
Before getting divorced, do people really think about their own definition of a successful outcome?
I think one of the main problems with the collective, mass media messaging about divorce is that divorce is most often described or reported as a fight. (See War of the Roses, Kramer v. Kramer, and most celebrity divorces reported in the press).
The problem with this is that fights have winners and losers.
What if we, as a society, imagined divorce differently?
Now wait, before you start calling me a naive Pollyanna, hear me out.
I think divorce should be looked at the same way a company is viewed by consultants advising it on restructuring–logically, semi-detached, with an eye on what is best for the bottom line.
In a corporate setting the bottom line is money. But in a divorce, the bottom line is different. What if the bottom line in a divorce was successful co-parenting?
What if divorce was actually about the financial, emotional and physical restructuring of a family. And what if the reason for that restructuring was to support post-divorce co-parenting?
Why is this so important? Because the latest studies show that kids who are exposed to the least amount of conflict do the best long term. Kids who have divorced parents who have a low conflict co-parenting relationship are shown to be vulnerable to the ‘bad stuff’ (drug abuse, suicide, low self-esteem etc…) at the same rate or level as kids from households with married parents. High conflict post divorce parenting causes that vulnerability to skyrocket.
That’s why we can and should imagine divorce in a different way, our kids deserve it.