“The U.S. divorce rate dropped for the third year in a row, reaching its lowest point in nearly 40 years,” reported Time Magazine on Dec. 04, 2016. Even still, when you look at your Facebook account, it may seem like your friends, family, and co-workers are still getting divorced everywhere you turn. You may even see couples who are using the hashtag #DivorceSelfie on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
In March 2014, Gwyneth Paltrow introduced the catchy term, “conscious uncoupling” when she publicly announced the she and Chris Martin were separating. Little did she know at the time that the term was going to strike a nerve. Apparently, conscious uncoupling was a concept that couples everywhere were drawn to, and they were using it to put a positive spin to their divorces.
Whether or not Paltrow could be credited for this shift in attitude about divorce is debatable; however, many divorcées would agree that their splits were more tolerable because they decided to maintain a positive attitude towards their spouses and the divorce process as a whole. In fact, many couples decided to post divorce selfies on social media to show the world, “We’re getting a divorce, but we’re happy about it and we’re still friends.”
Marie Frenette posted a divorce selfie on Instagram that read, “Today Cory and I did the final paperwork for our divorce after 3 years together and eight months married.” Frenette told ATTN: that they saw an article on BuzzFeed about divorce selfies, and said, “Wow, what a positive and empowering way to deal with it. Not hiding, not feeling shame.” Frenette’s not the only one, if you search the hashtag #DivorceSelfie on Instagram, hundreds of similar posts will turn up.
Reasons Behind Divorce Selfies
Often, divorce selfies are taken at the courthouse. In the images, couples are smiling, acting uncharacteristically “happy” about their divorce. While it only takes seconds to snap these pictures, they send a powerful message to the world about how such couples are approaching their divorces. Couples are showing a united front, and instead of letting the divorce tear them down, they’re maintaining a positive outlook about it.
Historically, “divorce” has been a dirty little word that people were ashamed about. But, in recent years, some couples have decided to be completely positive about their divorces. About his divorce selfie, Guy Johnson told ATTN, “I posted it and tagged it because I’m a pretty open book and I wanted people to know that for us it was a happy occasion that we did out of love.” He went on to say that his wife, Tracey, went from his life partner to a (hopefully) lifelong partner and confidant.
Positive Divorce is Better for Kids Too
According to the American Psychological Association, “Divorce can be a traumatic experience for children,” but most of them adjust within about two years of the divorce. However, “during a divorce, parents can do a lot to ease the child’s transition,” says the APA. What can parents do? The APA’s advice: “Do your best to keep any conflict away from kids,” and we couldn’t agree more with the statement.
When parents have a positive divorce where they treat each other with dignity and respect, it’s much easier on their children. If for no other reason, parents can agree to have a friendly divorce for the sake of their children. After all, it’s far more time-efficient and cost-effective to have a collaborative divorce than it is to have a high-conflict divorce that siphons the marital estate, drags on in court for months if not years on end, and drains the positive energy out of the spouses.
How Can We Have a Healthy Divorce?
How can you have a healthy divorce? For starters, decide not to view your breakup as a battle against your spouse. Consider divorce mediation or a collaborative divorce, both of which avoid litigation. You and your spouse may want to consider therapy during the divorce process, and you should surround yourselves with a strong support network. Since divorce can be emotionally, physically, and financially stressful (even with positive divorces), this is a great time to take a little time off, and to focus on your physical and emotional well-being.
Some great ways to take care of yourself during a divorce:
- If you have children, spend loads of quality time with them.
- Eat well, get plenty of rest, and exercise.
- Avoid consuming too much alcohol and processed foods. Instead, focus on a “clean diet” rich in organic produce, meats, nuts and seeds.
- Do more of what you love, such as hiking, yoga, camping, surfing, working out, reading, visiting museums, travelling, etc.
- Consider training for a marathon – it’s a great way to reduce stress and get in shape at the same time.
- Volunteer at your favorite charities.
- Focus on getting in the best financial shape of your life.
Communication & Cooperation Are Keys to Success
In order to achieve a positive divorce, complete with “conscious uncoupling” Paltrow style, communication and cooperation will be your keys to success. When you and your spouse agree to have a healthy divorce, that one decision will provide long-lasting benefits for all involved, including any children from the marriage.
For many spouses, taking a divorce selfie where the couple is happy and smiling shows the world that they are cooperating and communicating, and it helps the spouses reinforce the fact that getting a divorce is no longer considered the “end of the world” like it once was.
Whether you anticipate a friendly or a contested divorce, our compassionate Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Claery & Hammond, LLP are here to help. Contact us today!