Bruce C. Zivley, Attorney at Law

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Why 'success' during divorce is not a competitive sport

Each marriage is distinct and is unique in its own ways. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that each divorce is also distinct and unique in its own ways as well. We frequently write about the fact that amicable divorces approached in a calm, professional manner tend to be the least stressful option for everyone involved. However, this kind of divorce is not for everyone.

Victims of domestic abuse and spouses of true narcissists can rarely approach their divorce processes in this manner for obvious reasons. In addition, sometimes it is imperative for couples to litigate their disputes due to genuine disagreements over how property or child custody matters should be decided.

It is wonderful that divorce in America has evolved to allow couples to mediate, negotiate and otherwise resolve their disputes amicably and peacefully. But this evolution does not mean that couples who litigate their divorces should be judged in any way as “less than” those who are able to forego litigation.

Too often, couples whose divorces are contentious are made to feel that they are somehow in the wrong and/or are somehow harming their children. However, the very reason that a couple may choose to litigate a divorce is that each spouse has different ideas about what is best for the children and wants to advocate for what they believe is truly best.

In the end, the immediate “success” of how amicable or contentious a divorce ends up being is not a competitive sport or an event to be judged. For every couple, the decision to negotiate or fight is simply what it is.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The Smugness of Friendly Divorce,” Tracy Schorn, March 28, 2014

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