“The good divorce is a concept that does not advocate divorce as being good, but rather accepts the fact that it is part of our society. It is a natural reaction and safety valve for bad marriages.” C. Ahrons, The Good Divorce: Keeping Your Family together when your marriage comes a part. (1994) New York: Harper Perennial.
A good divorce allows the intimate personal relationship between the parents to end while supporting the children’s deep attachment to both parents and their extended families. It allows each member of the family to grieve the loss, to accept the change and to explore the possibilities of a different future. Mediation, with or without lawyers, is the first step in any “good divorce” , because it gives the separating couple the opportunity to collaborate, negotiate, and work out the terms of the end of their relationship in a constructive manner which reduces conflict and preserve limited financial resources. Some couples mediate the terms of their divorce without the assistance of any professionals, but others, especially those with children and assets find this to be difficult and potentially reckless. Many couples agree upon a mediator and work alone or with their attorneys in a collaborative or adversarial legal process. Which method is best, depends on the family, its financial resources, and the unique needs of each member. I will discuss how to select the process that is best for you in my next article. Nevertheless, in every “good divorce” the parents recognized that compromise is absolutely necessary, and they have a vision of a future that involves two households linked by their commitment to parent their children.