Considering Divorce? Or Is There Still Hope?

Should I Get a Divorce? Is There Still Hope?

Marriage is hard, even for the strongest couples. When what you thought was a “rough patch” starts to stretch on into infinity, it’s natural to start considering divorce. But before you make any permanent decisions, let me share a few things that I’ve learned from a long career as a breakup therapist and divorce counselor

Relationship Doubts are Completely Normal

You have a fight. Maybe a few fights. You go through a period where you both feel disconnected. Kids, jobs, cleaning bathrooms, the dandelions on the front lawn – virtually everything seems like it’s more of a priority than your marriage.

This is natural. All relationships ebb and flow. Disconnection and reconnection are simply part of being in a long-term relationship. But sometimes…it is hard to reconnect. 

Particularly if toxic negativity begins to color your interactions.

And when attachment stretches thin, and you can’t remember the last time you laughed together, it’s normal to wonder if you ever will again. When the negative experiences with your partner start to outnumber the good ones, it’s normal to wonder if you’ve arrived at the “end of the line” asking “can this marriage be saved?” 

Is Divorce the Answer?

Not necessarily. Feeling upset and scared about your marriage is exactly what prompts couples to start marriage counseling. Being unhappy with the situation creates the motivation that you need to do the difficult work of growing back together again. And in my experience, when couples have a will to repair the relationship, there is always a way. 

[Here is more on: Why Your Marriage is Worth Saving]

But sometimes, instead of addressing their issues, people begin to fantasize about divorce. They don’t know how to solve their relationship problems without breaking up, and divorce feels like the only solution. Divorce starts to feel like a glowing door to freedom and happiness. That’s when your relationship is in trouble. 

Of course, I understand that there are situations where you may not have a choice. 

Sometimes, one partner might decide to leave without warning. Other marriages become so toxic that divorce is genuinely the only option. However, in the vast majority of cases, the problems are the problem – not the partners.

Welcome, Denisa Tova: Divorce Mediation Expert

If you are toeing up to the edge of this precipice, or perhaps already starting to go through the searing process of taking your marriage apart, this podcast is for you. 

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m speaking with Pro Divorce Mediator Denisa Tova about things to think about if you’re on the fence about divorce, and also practical strategies for creating the best possible outcomes if you decide to move forward with divorce.

Is There Still Hope? Things to Consider Before a Divorce…

Denisa Tova and I will be discussing:

  1. How to tell the difference between “solvable problems” between you and your partner, and situations where divorce is really necessary.
  2. If you must get divorced, the mindset you need to foster is to create a healthy divorce experience.
  3. Strategies for creating a happy collaborative relationship, no matter what happens.

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Considering Divorce? Or Is There Still Hope?

Free, Expert Advice — For You.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you’re listening to the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

[Intro Song: Mr. and Mrs. Smith – End of the Ride]

That was Mr. And Mrs. Smith with “End of the Ride.” Kind of appropriate because that’s what we’re talking about today. We are talking about divorce, not the happiest subject in the world, but something that a lot of people need to deal with, and so I figured that it deserved our attention on the podcast today. Today, I’m going to be talking about how to have the healthiest divorce possible. If this is something that you must do, there are ways of going about divorce that can lead to happier and more loving, and more successful outcomes than others, and you deserve to know that. 

So before we get started, let me just tell you a little bit about me, if this is your first time connecting with the Love, Happiness, and Success podcast, I’m Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. I work in three different areas. I’m a therapist, and a marriage counselor, and a life coach. I have a practice in Denver, Colorado. I started making this podcast because I quickly realized that I only have so many hours in the day, I can only connect with so many clients personally and individually. I’m really passionate about helping people and teaching people strategies about how to create more love, happiness, and success in their lives. I do a lot of writing and blogging, and I also created this podcast as just kind of a service project, putting this out there for people who can benefit from the same things that my clients do. 

If you want to read more articles or see other podcasts, you can subscribe on iTunes to get more podcasts or check out my blog, which is drlisabobby.com and you’ll see all kinds of stuff. There’s also a lot of free trainings, online trainings that I’ve created, either to feel happier, have a better relationship, create more success, and you can find those there on my website. You can also connect with me on Facebook on the book at facebook.com/drlisabobby, or follow me on Twitter

Don’t be shy about getting in touch either. I always love to hear from people, particularly if you have questions for me or subjects you’d like me to address on an upcoming podcast or an article. I really value that. I want to make things that are helpful and meaningful to you. So please get in touch with me. Don’t be shy. So as I mentioned, today we’re talking about the Big D — divorce. I have to confess before we even start talking about this, I am not a fan of divorce. As a marriage counselor, I work so hard to help couples repair their relationships, and also I see so many couples really dig deep in resolving problems, even big problems, and long-standing problems. In the process, a lot of times they’re able to create a marriage that is much stronger and happier than ever before. Doing that work together, not just prevents them from having a divorce, but really helps them create the kind of relationship that they’ve always wanted. 

Preventing Divorce – Is There Still Hope?

I think because I see so much hope for couples, it kind of makes me sad when I see people who oftentimes have not done that work, and then make the assumption that the only solution to their relationship problems is ending the marriage. I just want to say, just because you don’t perceive a solution right now, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. I think it’s always worth checking in with a good marriage counselor, even for a few sessions, to see if anything is possible because things might be possible even if people don’t think that they’re possible sometimes. I just know that because I’ve walked with so many people through that process. I’d like to encourage you to give it a chance, particularly if kids are involved and getting professional support can be part of that. There are a lot of great marriage counselors out there. 

If you do want to try therapy, make sure that you look for someone who is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, which means that they have specialized training and experience just in helping couples and families. There are a lot of people who just have training in individual therapy, but market themselves to see couples anyway and it’s not the same. So if you want to go that route look for an LMFT. That’s my little divorce bias right there. But at the same time, I am fully aware that nobody wants to get divorced. If there were solutions to problems, people would take them, because divorce is yucky, nobody wants that. At the same time, it’s, unfortunately, a reality that many people have to deal with, and sometimes they don’t want to deal with it, but they have to anyway. 

I’m making this podcast for you. You deserve to have information if you have to go through this to have as good of an experience as you can. So, I hope that you don’t take what I said before as being judgmental in any way, because I have a tremendous amount of compassion for people who have to deal with this difficult situation. There are lots of times when one person in a marriage does not want to get divorced, but the other person does. That’s a really sad situation, but it’s also sometimes just entirely outside of your control, and you have to deal with it. Then I also work with couples for whom the absolutely most appropriate move is to get divorced, and particularly when there are really extremely toxic and unhealthy things going on in the marriage.

It’s just the right thing to do. Especially if the person who’s really contributing to the toxic unhealthiness has very low insight or motivation to change any of those things. That’s a very sad situation, but you need to do what’s right, and a lot of times that is to get out of there and create a healthier life on your own. Again, I have a lot of compassion for people who have to face that choice or are going through the process of ending a marriage because it’s just a hard time. But it doesn’t have to be a total nightmare, it doesn’t have to be a completely harrowing experience. 

Today, that’s what we’re going to talk about are things to consider if either you’re on the fence about divorcing, some things to kind of think about to see if that really is the right choice for you. Also, if you do decide to move forward, there are some strategies that can help you get through it with the greatest amount of love, happiness, and success possible for you and for everyone else involved. I am super excited about the show today, because my friend Denisa Tova, who’s actually a divorce mediator is going to be joining me on the show, to give you her perspective on this process, as well as her advice on this mindset towards divorce, that will help you create the healthiest outcome possible. 

So before we say hello to Denisa, let me give her a little introduction. So she is formerly a certified financial planner but wound up turning her passion, which is to change how people resolve their divorce, into a career. So she became a divorce mediator with a financial planning background. So she focuses a lot on the financial aspects of the divorce process. But because she has that strong financial background, as well as mediation skills, it’s really given her a unique set of tools to help hundreds of couples take really a rational approach to their divorce. Her strategy is to help people reach a deeper resolution, both around money but also around parenting. Her ideal outcome is always for people to do that in a very respectful and hopefully cost-effective way. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Denisa and her practice, you can go to her website, tovaqdroservices.com. She also recently published a book called The Bedroom Elephant: A Guide to Successful Divorce, which is just packed with real-life experiences and how-to strategies to help divorcing couples keep their calm and approach divorce in a smart, collaborative and rational way. So check that out. 

But Denisa, thank you so much for joining me today. I just can’t tell you how excited I am to have you on the podcast. Welcome. Now I know we have a lot of different things to talk about, and in particular, how to help people who do move towards divorce, get through it in the healthiest way possible. But first of all, the first question. I’m curious to know if you ever meet with couples and you think, “You know, I think that there is still some hope here,” and maybe those couples don’t totally see it at the time. But if there are ever just differences that you see between couples who you think “No, they really need to get divorced,” or couples who maybe do have a chance to work through things and repair their relationships. 

Dr. Denisa Tova: Sure, it has been really an interesting journey, because of my background as a financial planner where I would see couples who were trying to get on the same page when it came to money, and they wanted to sort of reconcile their differences around money and come up with a plan that worked. When I see them on the other side, so to speak, where they feel like “We’ve tried it, and it simply didn’t work, and so divorce is our next step.” A lot of times I see that could have been prevented, and many times it’s really not about money, it’s not how much you have or do not have, it’s the conversation around money. 

So when we dive into the mediation process and have what I call an honest conversation, I discovered that it’s really about having two different attitudes about money, and lots of bottled up feelings, and once those surface and you give people the tools to communicate around money in a healthy way, and to honor their attitudes around money, things really can be worked out. I’ve had couples who reconciled. This has kind of been an interesting, interesting perspective.

Dr. Lisa: That is so interesting and that makes me feel really helpful. Because, for me, as a marriage counselor, I always hope that couples can work things out. I always feel so sad for couples most of the time who do decide to split because a lot of it, I think, can really be preventable and avoidable. But I think it’s fascinating what you’re saying right now, which is that, in your experience, a lot of what drives couples to get divorced in the first place is conflict around money. Could you say just a little bit more around what kinds of differences you see tend to cause so many problems that people feel like the only solution is getting divorced? Because that’s really interesting.

No-Nonsense Honesty

Dr. Denisa: Absolutely. I have actually recently done a presentation about moving from me to we, whether you should blend your finances or not. Really, it starts with having an honest conversation. Well, people say, “Well, sure, we talked about money before. We’ve talked about money before we got into a relationship, and it’s still not working today.” When I say honest conversation, I mean, putting everything on the table, and talking about, especially if this is a repeated marriage, or you are entering into what I call a serious, committed relationship, really dig deep, and talk about your childhood messages around money, talk about what your hopes and fears are around money, and really, really engage in active listening to the other person, and do not judge. 

This may be a bit extreme, but I’d say exchange your credit reports. Do not let things implode down the road. So I think the more you talk about upfront, the less of a conflict there is in the future. Having that conversation, and it’s really important in the beginning, but it’s not too late if you are already in a relationship to have that conversation again. We both know money is a highly emotional topic, and people get emotional about it, but it’s really the needs underneath that. It’s important to talk about that and find out what really triggers those sorts of emotions. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, you know, a lot of couples that I see in marriage counseling, they really do struggle to get on the same page around money. What I found in my practice is that a lot of times, people, there are a lot of secrets around money, or people are doing things unilaterally around money without talking to their partners about it first. The most helpful thing, I think, is for people to just create a budget every month where they can have conversations around this is how much money we have coming in. This is how much money we have going out. This is who gets to spend what on what and just having that simple tool can really take a lot of the emotional tension out of it. But so you’re saying that a lot of the couples that you see who come up to the brink of divorce have just not been able to have those conversations. Or are there other things that you see going on that bring people into your mediation for divorce? Or is it really a lot about money?

Dr. Denisa: A lot of it is about money. It’s interesting that the conflict really is, has very little to do with what people are arguing about. So when they get to my office, and things are sort of going south, they’re arguing over things that really are not addressing the underlying issues. The other thing that I want to point out is, aside from having a plan, as you said, meeting around a budget, before that even happens, I think it’s important that you talk about what-if scenarios, and earlier on. 

For instance, if one of you wants to transition into another career, or if one of you wants to stay at home with your children, you really need to talk about this upfront. What is this going to look like? If one of you likes spreadsheets and likes budget, and the other person cannot stand that amount of detail, it’s okay. But again, getting that out upfront, and really figuring out what happens when we cannot agree. How will we resolve these conflicts? So I think those are important things. Also, if things do fail, is talking about how do we protect our economic history, that we each brought into the relationship in a way that honors our current relationship, our new relationship in the future? Because after all, you are modeling conflict resolution to your children.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. That’s an excellent point. So we can talk more of the nuts and bolts of protecting your economic history, as you say. But first, let me ask you: what do you think is the difference between a couple who could probably work things out versus a couple for whom the best choice genuinely, really, is just to split? Is there something different about the couples that you see, and then you think, “You know, I bet they could work it out?”

Dr. Denisa: I think both couples have an equal chance. Now, I think extreme examples are when you have domestic violence issues. We’re not talking about extreme situations. So we’re talking about two couples. I think there has to be a willingness, which is hard to see when you are in what I call an emotional fog. I found as a mediator that you can mediate a couple to try and help them come to some sort of a compromise or to come to some sort of a settlement. But all you’re doing is really throwing a band-aid at a problem. 

What I like to do as a mediator is to really dig deeper, and try to find that try to help them find a deep resolution. I think that Lisa, the wonderful work that you do is really trying to dig deep and really help them understand what is at the core of those issues. So I think everybody has a chance, I think it’s the being open to, and willingness to really work things out. The first thing I tell people when they are ready to go through this difficult journey is, do you have a therapist? Do you have a mental health professional who can really help you separate out the emotional aspect and versus the economics? I think that’s really important.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. I also agree, I think people get stuck on, you know, the nuts and bolts of what you’re fighting about sometimes, but the truth is that it’s so much deeper, and really the emotional core, often for a lot of people, is just wanting to feel cared about by the other person. When that shuts down, people can manage that sort of anxiety in all kinds of ways, some of which aren’t very pretty. But I love your approach to try to help people dig deeper to see if there is that opportunity to reconnect. That’s always my hope too.

The other thing that I see and I don’t know if this is true for you, but as a marriage counselor, I think sometimes I see people who fantasize a little bit about divorce, and they throw the divorce word around and it seems like they consider divorce as being like an out, it’s like an exit door that will somehow solve all their problems, especially if they’re stuck in a conflictual relationship or a relationship in which they feel numb, or they’re starting to not care anymore. Divorce feels like something that will solve their problems. 

What I needed to do sometimes, is have very serious conversations with people around the fact that oftentimes divorce, yeah, you don’t have to live with that person anymore. But you’re kind of signing up for a different set of problems, when you divorce, particularly when there’s co-parenting issues, and the person is still going to be in your life, particularly if you have kids. So what, in your experience, is something that you see people having to deal with post-divorce, that they might not have expected going into it?

Dr. Denisa: Well, I think it’s the new, not only emotional but the new economic reality. Like you said, divorce sounds like the perfect band-aid to throw at a problem. What you said, I’m a big proponent of rebuilding and truly addressing all of your, any possible fears, anxieties that you may have, and becoming whole as the person before you move on to the next relationship. So there’s a lot of work involved. We’re just talking the relational piece, the emotional piece, but the financial piece, obviously, oh, my goodness, I mean, there’s just so much unknown. 

That’s why one of the things that, it’s quite interesting is, when you have a spouse who has not worked, and they’re going through divorce process, and during the process, that spouse has to make financial decisions for him or herself, which starts by gathering all the information and making decisions. I mean, that can be so scary, but it’s empowering for many as well, it’s because that is what your situation will look like after divorce. You will be responsible for your own economic situation. So that’s definitely a new reality, which is quite scary.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, I could absolutely see that. With your clients, do you also work with them around co-parenting agreements, or is that something that you leave for other, for the judicial system, primarily?

The Mediator’s Role

Dr. Denisa: No, not at all. Actually, we address everything. So it’s the finding of resolution around finances, obviously, and the parenting. That is why mediation is such a healthy process that can allow parents to sort of collaborate and come up with a plan that will meet the needs of their children, but also the entire economic unit. That is a really, really an important piece. Like you said, it’s when you are stuck in that conflict, it’s hard to see ahead of you and realize, this is not about getting the other person, this is not about finding fairness, this is really about not causing a lot of unnecessary trauma to our children. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. On that note, I mean, so trying to help families rearrange themselves, obviously, always keeping the needs of the children first and foremost, what, if you had a handful of tips for parents who are bumping up against the precipice of divorce, what would your advice be to them for things to think about or try to work into their own agreements that would really be most beneficial to the kids?

Dr. Denisa: Trying to have a longer-term outlook and think about what kind of children you want to raise, and then trying to come up with a plan that would allow you to do that. So whether that be the nesting arrangement, where basically parents remain in, they maintain the marital residence, and then each parent takes turns, that the children remain in the marital residence, and then each parent spends time with them in and out of the home, essentially, providing stability, that could be one arrangement. This is really a tough piece, because you may have one parent who is just emotionally done and wants to move out of state, uproot the children to meet his or her needs, and it’s hard to really see what that may do to the children or vice versa. So I think this is the important piece where parents really should stay united and really think through different what-if scenarios, and really think about what their children might need moving forward. Because it’s really not so much of a conflict of a divorce, it’s the ongoing conflict between parents after divorce, that causes so much more trauma to the kids.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, and I can just hear people thinking, I’m not going to move back to my house three days out of the week, and then have my ex-husband be living there three days a week, that’s, gosh, I gotta pack, and there’ll be so but to think about what will that be like for your kids to have to shuttle back and forth between those two homes, and it’s crazy. I work with people well into their 20s and 30s who are still recovering from their parents’ divorce when they were children. That’s often what they cite as being the hardest part is just that lack of stability and feeling like they don’t really have a home in the way that their friends had a home, that their time is divided, their loyalties are divided. 

So I really love that advice that you have to parents of think about what kind of kids you want to raise, and let’s have a longer-term plan around, what is this actually going to feel like for them? That’s wonderful advice. I was also hoping to ask you, I, again, work with people who are, let me back up a little bit. I mean, I think that when people have been having conflict in their relationship for a while, I think that it’s very normal to have feelings of ambivalence about a relationship. Part of you thinks, well, maybe there’s still some hope here, and maybe there are positive parts of this relationship, but do also have those escape fantasies and thinking about divorce. Will this help the situation? Will this make it better? Or will it make it worse? 

If there were like, two or three questions, you would have that person who is really legitimately ambivalent, two or three questions that you would have that person ask themselves to try to just get a handle on, “Should I push-pull the trigger on the divorce thing? Or should I try to stay and work it out?” What would those couple of questions be that might help them just resolve that ambivalence and decide what to do one way or the other?

Dr. Denisa: You know, I’m certainly not a counselor. So I would just encourage people to try and listen to their core. Sometimes we have a conflict and sitting with it for a while, where it just feels things are close to impossible, and really listening to it, and figuring out what’s really going on on the inside. Perhaps we’re so focused on all the bad things about our spouse, well maybe we’re shifting the focus to what are some cool things about that person? Is this situation really that unbearable, and then what happens next? What is my plan going forward? 

So I think just being brutally, brutally honest with yourself is really important. Seeing somebody, seeking help with somebody like yourself, who can really talk through some of these issues, and kind of get rid of all this noise, and just sort of break it down and figure out really what is going on on the inside.

Dr. Lisa: I couldn’t agree more. But I love your advice, though, just to be very, very honest with yourself and realistic about what the outcomes are going to be. Is this so bad? Would it be helpful for me to focus on the good parts of this relationship? But say, then a person, and this also happens in my practice, I mean, I do work with people or with couples who really, the very best thing for them is to get divorced, the situation is so just emotionally toxic to one or both people, and that is very unlikely to get repaired or obviously in the cases of abuse or serious, untreated addictions, people need to leave. 

So if you know that is the case with a person, they’ve done the soul searching and arrived at the conclusion of “Yeah, I really do need to do this.” Is there some specific advice or strategies you could give them, if they’re serious about this, what are their next steps? How does one even go about this, would the first thing be to call a mediator like you? Are there things that they need to do ahead of time to prepare? What does this even look like?

Dr. Denisa: Well, I think that the most important thing is to have the right attitude. People have friends who have been through ugly divorces, unfortunately. So there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot of bad information out there. It’s easy to get sucked into it. I tell people two things. One is, when you’re finding yourself sort of spiraling down into what I call the shadow side, engage the help of somebody, like yourself, have a therapist to kind of help you through the emotional fog. But then it really is about the economics, and you really need to focus on that. Having the right attitude, approaching divorce in a, it’s hard to say smart way. But it’s important that you have the right information to begin with. Seeking that right information, whether you consult with an attorney, whether you consult with a mediator, so that would be the very first step is really the right attitude, and the right information.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, so to have, when you say the right attitude, having it be not swept away in those emotions so that you’re not thinking straight, that the right attitude would be more of a rational kind of approach of “Okay, what do I need to do here?” Is that what you’re saying? That is the right attitude? 

Dr. Denisa: That is correct. 

Dr. Lisa: Then to enlist the help of an attorney or a mediator. While we’re on that subject, and forgive me, this is probably a bit of an ignorant question, but I don’t know, and I’m imagining that my listeners might not either. Can you talk a little bit more about what is the difference in getting in touch with an attorney first versus a mediator, in terms of the experience that unfolds for people? Can people use an attorney and a mediator? Or is it one or the other? Why should they go one avenue or the other with that? 

Attorneys versus Mediators

Dr. Denisa: Well, one option to resolve your divorce is to hire attorneys, and an attorney can only represent one party. So right there, essentially, you’re having a counselor who would give you the information, but the objective is to, let’s just try to get you whatever we can at whatever price we can. I think that when you have two people sort of split up into two different camps, who are now only communicating through attorneys, a lot of it gets lost in translation, so to speak. 

Whereas if you are working with a mediator who is a neutral person, completely separated from the outcome, you are now working essentially together to come up with a fair and equitable resolution around money and around finances and parenting. You get to control the outcome. Whereas when you hire attorneys, and then oftentimes, attorneys would also hire other experts. They would bring up perhaps a financial expert, perhaps a parenting expert, like a child family investigator, so you have the whole slew of experts right here. You are really leaving the control with the attorney. The control of the outcome, you’re giving it over to the attorneys. I think that’s a big key difference right here, and things can escalate quite quickly and become adversarial. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, I could see how that would happen very quickly, particularly if each attorney is sort of in it to win it, that it could get bad pretty fast. Versus mediation, you’re saying is just like a different sort of counselor, that it’s the attitude is let me help the two of you come to an agreement, as opposed to this me and you kind of thing that the lawyer, getting lawyers involved can create is that it?

Dr. Denisa: That is correct. Yeah. Yeah. 

Dr. Lisa: Well, that makes a lot of sense. Okay, well, thank you for explaining that. Any last advice or tips you would want to leave people with for things they need to be thinking about or potentially doing if they want to move in this direction?

Dr. Denisa: I really think if it becomes inevitable and divorce is the only option. Again, I think, just approach it carefully. It may seem impossible at first, the idea of actually collaborating with your soon-to-be-ex. But again, especially if you have children, it’s important that you think of them first. Choosing a non-adversarial option for divorce, like a mediation, something that’s civil, where you can end your relationship, you can honor your history in a respectful way, control the outcome and the cost, and really, it will allow you to co-parent better too. 

I think those are really hard things to think about when you are in that conflict, but so important, so important, because the ripple effects of divorce can be lasting. 

Dr. Lisa: Say a little bit more about that, the ripple effects. 

Dr. Denisa: Well, if let’s say you feel like, “Right now, it’s impossible for me to even think about collaborating with my spouse, I’m just going to go and lawyer up and get the most I can.” Well, when divorce is said and done, and you really have not addressed things that would allow you to look at the long-term picture. I mean, in a typical litigated case where you hire attorneys and you settle, you are so focused on, let’s discover assets and income, and let’s just get the other person, you’re really forgetting about what happens after the decree is issued after divorce. If you have missed something, whether it be in a parenting plan, or in your financial agreement, these things can stay with you for many years after. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, yeah. I think what I’m hearing you say is that if you’ve poisoned the well during the actual process of getting divorced, then it’s like you’ve just burned that bridge, and you’re kind of stuck with it. It’s very difficult to renegotiate things, versus mediation and going about it in a civilized way, is really thinking about the end game and preserving the quality of the relationship that you do have going into a divorce, and not making it worse, and setting a foundation for having a different kind of partnership going forward. 

Dr. Denisa: Absolutely.

Dr. Lisa: That is, yeah, that is such a beautiful idea. Thank you so much for explaining all of this to us. I’ve never really considered the differences in the way that you’ve described. But I think that your point of view is so important. As you were talking, I was thinking about giving birth to a child. Whereas like when I, when we had our son, it was, the focus was on, we went to these birthing classes, and it was giving birth, and there was almost nothing discussed about what to do after the baby comes home, which is really a much bigger deal. 

What you’re saying is that the divorce process is really very much like that, it’s being focused on this divorce as an event as opposed to life behind it. To go through something like mediation and really being focused on finding mutually agreeable solutions and preserving that relationship can then sustain the next 10 or 15 or 20 years of a co-parenting relationship in a much healthier way. So, this is wonderful. Thank you so much for talking with me today. This is Denisa Tova everyone. If you want to learn more about her practice, be sure to check out her website, tovaqdroservices.com

So that’s it for today. That’s this episode of the Love, Happiness, and Success podcast. I sincerely hope that Denisa and I have given you guys some things to consider if you’re thinking about divorce or going through it, just that mindset of how to have it be a healthy experience. The punch line for me and talking to Denisa was to think about what happens after the divorce and to try to maintain that relationship as much as possible because it’s not completely over even once the papers are signed. So I hope that you guys found that helpful. Stay tuned. We’ll be back in touch soon with another episode. In the meantime, here’s that whole song, Mr. and Mrs. Smith with “End of the Ride”.

[Outro Song]


Episode Highlights: Considering Divorce? Is There Still Hope?

  • Preventing Divorce
    • While the podcast’s topic is on divorce, it’s worth it to consider other options, especially if it’s possible to resolve the conflict. 
    • Counseling or therapy are viable options for couples who can still work their marriage out. 
  • No-Nonsense Honesty
    • Couples, before committing to one another, really have to be more honest about their finances.
    • Denisa suggests that they bare everything to one another—to show one your financial records and history. 
    • She also recommends talking about your future plans involving money, such as quitting your job or shifting to a different career. 
  • The Mediator’s Role
    • Mediators do not only deal with the divorce but also think about its ripple effects, especially if children are involved. 
    • They try to dig deeper to find lasting solutions rather than suggest band-aid ones.
  • Attorneys versus Mediators
    • Attorneys can be “in it to win it”, and focus more on what one party can gain.
    • Meanwhile, mediators focus more on a solution that serves everyone, including the kids.
    • Hiring an attorney can turn the situation into an adversarial one while getting a mediator might help you resolve your situation amicably in such a way that you are able to co-parent well.

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4 Comments

  1. Let the father see the chidrlen, but I wouldn’t suggest getting back together with him. Even with the help of professionals, sometimes it’s better not to take him back. But NEVER take the kids away from him. He has every right to see them.I hope this helps =)

  2. Let the father see the chidrlen, but I wouldn’t suggest getting back together with him. Even with the help of professionals, sometimes it’s better not to take him back. But NEVER take the kids away from him. He has every right to see them.I hope this helps =)

  3. Thank you for sharing your perspective Ndiaye. I agree that it is important for divorcing couples to support their child in having a positive relationship with both parents.

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