Few people would think of making a pizza, coaching a grade-school football squad, or taking up the tuba without a plan. Yet—perhaps due to frustration, exhaustion, or not knowing what planning to do—that’s precisely how most disillusioned spouses go about, and ultimately fail at, the pivotal step of marital separation.
So, we’ve come to strongly agree with Lee Raffel in her 1999 book Should I Stay or Go?: How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage that spouses need help in both recognizing and resolving up front the issues they will encounter during their separation. Where the relationships are safe, we recommend asking any spouses considering separation and even those who have already separated whether they are interested in slowing down to consider the possibility of reconciliation. They can be reminded that divorce is always an option down the road and that there can be many benefits (personal and financial) to a simple decision not to divorce today, whether or not the couple ultimately reconciles or gets a much better start on a courteous and cooperative divorce.
We think interested parents should be referred to www.NoDivorceToday.org, which in turn explains this option and refers them to the eye-opening work on www.WhileWeHeal.org and the Intake for a No-Divorce-Today Separation. Then in counseling or mediation these spouses can create a written agreement like one of these Sample No-Divorce-Today Separation Agreements.
We certainly welcome your comments.
Charlie and Barb Asher