The Healthy Way to Divorce in the State of New Jersey
Divorce in the State of New Jersey, and perhaps anywhere else for that matter, is a process: a legal, economic, emotional and, dare I say, spiritual process. The people going through a divorce, whether it was their idea or not, cannot help but be transformed by the “process”. While this transformation, to use a legal term, “mostly sucks”, there clearly is a “healthy way to divorce”.
In New Jersey, and perhaps anywhere else, a “healthy divorce” requires an equal focus on each of the four areas of transformation mentioned above: spiritual, emotional, economic and legal. If a divorcing spouse focuses initially upon the emotional and spiritual dimensions of the resulting changes, whether he/she likes them or not, that spouse generally will be much more successful, not only in the context of mediating and/or litigating the impending divorce, but, even more importantly, with any potential there may be for reconciliation and/or with enjoying the rest of their “new life”. Divorce, in its worst incarnations, breeds nothing but hurt, anger, fear, and the worst kinds of injuries human beings are capable of committing against one another. The effect these sorts of divorces can have on children is truly heartbreaking. It is, accordingly, essential that, whatever the circumstance may be, the participant in a divorce not only listen to their attorney (and accountant), but focus also on the emotional and spiritual dynamics whether chosen by them, or imposed upon them, by forces and/or persons they can’t control.
In contrast, an unhealthy divorce focuses on “control”. Control can permeate healthy and unhealthy marriages, as well as unhealthy divorces. Every marriage, even the good ones, often involve issues of control and the unavoidable need on the part of husband and/or wife to “be right” and/or “in control” of their children and each other. In dead marriages, the need to control is even worse. At least one of the parties, generally the party who is not emotionally ready to handle the divorce, develops an even more pressing need to control and “prevail” over the other spouse and, even worse, their children. It is, accordingly, imperative and arguably should be required before either party is being permitted to litigate a divorce, that both parties attend at least six (6) months of counseling and, as our law already provides, at least be apprised of the option to mediate, rather than litigate, issues involving their children, homes, property, and respective futures.
Accordingly, the healthy divorce contemplates counseling and mediation, the process by which child-centered divorcing parents recognize the need to resolve their differences despite their emotional challenges. Our lawyers can work closely with you to determine if mediation makes sense for resolving your family law or divorce case’: “While we believe in mediation, we will not permit one spouse to take advantage of the other and/or otherwise use the mediation process to delay or prejudice the other party. The very real and understandable feelings of hurt, anger, and resentment are replaced with a commitment to share the pain, focus on the kids, and, hopefully, help each other move forward. These are the divorcing couples who choose a “healthy divorce” and mange to remain dear friends, co-parent effectively, and even have significant others who can come to appreciate, rather than despise, the former spouse. The children of “healthy divorces” come to know two loving homes, rather than one; and, even more importantly, come to appreciate how their divorcing parents manage to lovingly solve the various problems associated with their separation and/or divorce. Accordingly, in the end, it is the children who most benefit from their parents’ commitment to a “healthy divorce”.