Saturday, September 25, 2010

Non-Divorce or Un-Divorce Update

I blogged about this topic on March 8, 2009 in a blog called “Non-Divorce Divorce or Separating without Divorcing.” See blog at Pamela Paul wrote an article in the July 30, 2010 New York Times entitled “The Un-Divorced” See entire article at She makes many of the same points I did. Couples should weigh the pros and cons of this option.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(191) 9/25/10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Divorce Games Part 3

Final part of three part series on Divorce Games. What could be better than a Divorce Party and games. The following is an article by Isabella Gladd from from

It is a wonderful road map.

“Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult events of life, but when it is over, throw a divorce party and begin a new life. No one gets married hoping to see the demise of the marriage, but bad things happen to good people all the time. It is easy to get so caught up in the downside of divorce that finding the silver lining in the cloud seems impossible. Go ahead and be frivolous and silly. Invite your closest friends to join you at your divorce party.

Who Not To Invite To a Divorce Party
First and foremost, do not invite your children no matter how old they are. Children feel loyalty to both parents and should never be put in the middle or feel they must choose. Divorce parties are no place for children. While you are at it, do not invite your parents either. Who knows what might happen at a crazy party where emotions run high?

Unless you have a close friend from work that you trust, do not invite colleagues. The last thing you need is a co-worker to go back to work on Monday morning and share the antics of your party with the rest of the office.

So who should you invite? Only invite your nearest and dearest friends who have seen you through this difficult time in life. These are the people who offered a shoulder to cry on, who held you up when you thought you would fall, and who made you laugh when tears threatened to blind you.

Divorce Party Ideas
A divorce party is a wake for a dead marriage. People celebrate rites of passage, milestones in life, beginnings and ends. Why should a divorce be any different?
A divorce is a life-altering change and should be recognized as such. Similar to the death of a loved one, you want to cry and you have that right. Perhaps your marriage and divorce was a comedy of errors and laughing sets the healing process in motion, laugh all you want. A bitter divorce battle that lagged on is finally over and you feel anger: let it out in healthy ways. A divorce party allows you to feel the emotions and move on.

If you enjoy wine and cocktails, more than likely alcohol will be involved. Be prepared ahead of time to have friends stay the night.

Make the party whatever you want it to be. It can be an elegant gathering with a gourmet dinner, wine and music. It can also be a casual affair with balloons, cake and cocktails. More than likely you will want to include your favorite comfort foods and for one day enjoy the freedom of eating whatever you like.

You can purchase divorce party invitations or make them yourself. Write up a divorce announcement similar to a wedding invitation that reads: Ms. Jane Doe cordially invites you to attend the celebration of the first day of her new-found freedom. Give all the juicy details of date, time and RSVP if necessary.
Divorce Party Cake
One of the most important parts of the dinner or party is the cake. Just as you had cake for your wedding, serve cake at your divorce party. Order a cake from a decorator and make it wild and funny. A cake in the shape of specific parts of the male anatomy may bring some form of pleasure by eating it or tossing it out. It may sound like a raucous thing to do, but if it helps heal the hurt, go for it.

For the more genteel divorcee, a three-layer cake similar to a wedding cake with graffiti written on the virginal white allows for personality. Hand the cake decorator a list of words that you would like written on the cake in bold, bright letters like: It’s over! Buh-bye! Kiss this… or your anniversary date in a circle with a line through it (think Ghost Busters).

The other way to approach the cake and the party is to view it as a new beginning filled with hope for future happiness. Be inventive and fun when coming up with ideas for a cake.

Divorce Party Games
The games you play at a divorce might not be exactly games, but think of them as harmless fun. Play pin the nose on the ex, as long as it doesn’t bother you having a picture of him blown up and an odd nose made to stick on his face.
Part of the games could be tearing your marriage license into tiny pieces and setting them on fire. Read the divorce proclamation with a voice of authority.

Rent some fun movies about divorce and have them running in the background while the party proceeds. The War of the Roses, Waiting to Exhale and First Wives Club come to mind as funny movies about divorce that should get a few hoots and hollers.

Make a list of all the things your ex did that agitated or angered you. Have guests write down things that agitated them as well. Everybody places their aggravations in a jar. The jar is then buried in an out-of-the-way place in the backyard. In essence, you are burying the past and opening yourself up to the future.

Divorce Party Favors
Let all your guests share in your independence by giving them a small token of the day. A bag of tea, bubble bath or nail polish can be purchased with the date of your divorce on the label. Create CDs of your favorite break-up tunes and share them with all your friends at the party. You can find just about anything you want online and at party stores when it comes to party favors.

Wrap the gifts in wild paper and tie with a clashing color of ribbon. Set the gifts next to the door and give each guest a divorce-party favor as she leaves.
Divorce Party Don’ts
Depending on the alcohol intake, a divorce party might instill the idea that anything goes. Keep things from getting out of hand and never allow yourself or guests to indulge in any of the following “dirty deal” divorce games:

* Forget about having a male stripper come to entertain. This is about a new-found freedom and becoming an independent woman without sexual overtones.

*Resist the urge to make anonymous phone calls to the ex to berate or humiliate him.

*Keep the video recorders and tape recorders out of the party. No one outside your close circle of friends need know how you celebrated your divorce.

*Refrain from burning love letters from you ex and especially wedding pictures. Instead, pack them away and save them for your children who may appreciate them one day.

*Do not write a scathing letter to you ex no matter how bitter and brutal the divorce battle was.

*Do no burn or mutilate the divorce decree. You never know when you might need it.

The idea of a divorce party is to help heal an open wound. No one is making fun of the commitment of marriage and love.
By openly sharing the pain of negotiations, lawyers and legal battles, divorcees can laugh, breathe a sigh of relief, and even cry with a network of supportive friends. Once the decree is final, there is no going back. Independence looms on the horizon, creating fear and anticipation of starting a new life as a single woman.

Make a divorce party a rite of passage; one that moves you into the future.”

As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(190) 9/18/10

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Divorce Games Part 2

Usually I try to summarize articles and then give the web link. Not easy to do with this article which discusses the games parties play in divorce litigation. I am showing the entire article from Lifescripts by Laura Johnson entitled “Divorce Schemes and Power Games.
“Divorce can be a dirty business when in the hands of lawyers who play power games to gain an unfair advantage over the other side. The same applies for angry, vindictive soon-to-be ex-spouses who have a "win at all costs" attitude. If this happens in your divorce, there are few things that you can do to control the other side, but there are several things you can do to prepare and manage the divorce.
The first thing to do is recognize a scheme and power play when you see it. The second thing is to not lose your cool and try to fight fire with fire. It will only cause things to escalate and your entire family will suffer. The final step is to think ahead and plan positive steps to counter your spouse's power game. Get outside help if necessary.
The following list has descriptions and examples of some of those nasty tricks lawyers and their clients will sometimes pull. If your lawyer recommends that you do this, he or she is setting you up to take unfair advantage of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If you do these things, don't be surprised if your actions come back to haunt you after the divorce!
• Take the money out of jointly held bank accounts, put it all into an account in your name alone and don't tell your spouse about it beforehand. Then let your spouse handle the problems associated with covering the bounced checks. This causes the most confusion and distress if your spouse usually writes the checks to pay the household bills.
• Use credit cards to purchase and stock up on personal items or make large purchases. Make sure to use the cards for which your spouse is the primary cardholder. This is especially effective at the beginning or near the end of a divorce. One lawyer actually told her client to go out the day before the settlement hearing and use her husband's credit cards to purchase all the items she needed to set up her new household. Her husband would then be stuck with the bills because he had agreed to be responsible for the debt on his credit card as of the day of the divorce, which he didn't know contained the charges made by his wife.
• If you have moved out of the family home and are the primary source of income for the family, refuse to pay any household bills or send any support until you are forced to do it by the court. This is one of the steps in a routine called "Starve Out The Other Spouse". The goal is to get the other spouse in a financial position where he or she, out of desperation, will accept an unfair settlement.
• If your spouse doesn't have an income withholding order, wait until the latest possible day to pay support money, even if you've got the money to send. In some states support doesn't become delinquent until it's 30 days past due and your spouse can't do anything to you until the 31st day. Never mind that your spouse just might need the money to pay bills or buy things for the children.
• Petition the court for primary custody of your children when you will actually agree to a joint custody or visitation arrangement. The real purpose for the request is to strike fear into the heart of your spouse and use it as a club to get your spouse to give up on something else, usually a financial issue.
• Refuse to speak with your spouse about anything, including arrangements for him or her to have parenting time with your children. This falls into the category of a tactic used by some lawyers to create conflict, create issues that don't need to exist, increase legal fees and wear the other side down. It can also cause a serious break in parent-child ties if the noncustodial parent doesn't get to see the children because he or she can't set up any parenting time.
• File a bogus petition to have your spouse excluded from the family home under your state's protection from abuse laws.
These are just a few of the sneaky things that can and have happened in divorces. They are sometimes successful, but are very destructive to any meaningful and fair settlement discussions. In addition, the residual hard-feelings and bitterness they can leave after the divorce could hamper you and your ex-spouse's ability to effectively co-parent your children. What's more, they often lead to post-divorce legal proceedings costing additional and unnecessary legal fees which most recently divorced people can ill afford.
Getting a divorce is really just a risk/reward type of thing for some people. Is the risk and potential loss if you get caught by your dirty tricks worth any potential benefit, financial or otherwise, that you might get if you win the game? Think about it? Are you really the winner -- or are the lawyers the real winners?”
Any of this sound familiar?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(189) 9/11/10

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Divorce Haiku

“Haiku is a poetic form and a type of poetry from the Japanese culture. Haiku combines form, content, and language in a meaningful, yet compact form. Haiku poets, which you will soon be, write about everyday things. Many themes include nature, feelings, or experiences. Usually they use simple words and grammar. The most common form for Haiku is three short lines. The first line usually contains five (5) syllables, the second line seven (7) syllables, and the third line contains five (5) syllables. Haiku doesn't rhyme. A Haiku must "paint" a mental image in the reader's mind. This is the challenge of Haiku - to put the poem's meaning and imagery in the reader's mind in ONLY 17 syllables over just three (3) lines of poetry!”
Following are some examples of some divorce haikus

Without a Parachute

"You pushed me from the
Plane. I long to hit the ground,
So the fear will end.”

Divorce Haiku
Poetry by Stephen R. Clark,

Divorce I
You are wrong of course
to leave and then disappear
from even my dreams.

Divorce II
You banish yourself
from accountability
and my love. Goodbye.

Divorce III
You thought that he would
give you something more than what
I could give you. Well?

Divorce IV
You lied about what
we had and instead you ran
to what was not yours.

I am no poet. Tried my hand a haiku in 9th grade and did not do so well. Anyone have any they want to share?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(188) 9/4/10