Thursday, September 29, 2011

Post Divorce Conflict

Are you still fighting with your Ex?  First, stop calling him/her your Ex.  S/he just got renamed as your Co-Parent.  Now read what I have to say about using therapy as a mechanism to end the on-going conflict that many co-parents experience post divorce at 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Expectation Management and Divorce.

Many people going through the transition of divorce have no idea what to expect.  And, not knowing what to expect typically escalates divorce-related stress and anxiety.  During a recent divorce mediation training program a multi-disciplinary group of professionals (Stacy Beaulieu, Mark Bilawsky, Tonya Cromartie, Mari Cullen, Susan Daniel, Ed Dieguez, Elizabeth Ermel, Adam Farber, Ruth Gordon, Susan Jacobson, Mike Kesselman, Ray Leon, Elizabeth Mackenzie, Anne Mazer, Goldye Meyer, Nicole Paulino, Lee Rubin, Dawn Saddik, Jennifer Schettewi, Donna Greenspan Solomon, Mark Solomon, Stella Suarez-Rita, Evelyn Tarud, Rick Yabor and me - Elinor Robin) provided some expectation management for those going through the divorce transition.  Read what they had to say at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Marriage Pacts

I was recently asked some thought provoking questions about Pre-Marital Education and Pre-Marriage Contracts - which I call Marriage Pacts.  Here are my answers.

1.  Should premarital education be mandatory?  (Something similar to the children of divorce workshop that divorcing parents must attend.)

Even though the hormones might prevent the participants from hearing anything said, yes. We may not be able to get people to listen but at least the seed would be planted.  And, they would know where to go to look for information when they needed it later on.

And, the mechanism already exists. There is something called Prepare/Enrich. Its an "survey" and training program that can actually predict marital success and pinpoints areas of potential trouble. Some religious denominations require copules to undergo the Prepare/Enrich process before they can get married in their church.
2.  Should marriage become a transaction that requires signing a detailed contract to enter, just as we do when applying for and receiving a mortgage to buy a home, a business loan, etc.?

Yes. In order to get a marriage license you should need a signed contract. And, there should be a mandatory "addendum" that needs to be signed before people are allowed to take their child home.  (Just like the car-seat requirement.)  This would get people to legally commit while the bonding (to the child) hormones are high and the children would win.  (However, ultimately, no one should have a child - man or woman - unless s/he is prepared to raise that child him/herself.)

3.  Would such a requirement induce more thought of behalf of those desiring to get married? Would marriage be taken more seriously by many, be seen for what it is and should be, even if the idea is a romance buzzkill?  Would it prove, in the long run, more helpful to people? Or is this whole idea foolishness?
It's a great idea. If you cannot sit down with your beloved and hold a difficult conversation (while you are in the window of hormone induced connection) about where you are, where you want to go, and how you plan on getting there then you will not be able to hold a difficult conversation later, once the hormone rush is gone and the dulldrum of daily life has set in.

4.  Should there be mandatory on-going educational or counseling requirements within marriages, sort of like a continuing ed for professionals?

No. However, as part of the Marriage Pact couples should agree to a yearly review and tune-up. Most of the couples I see went into auto pilot, got busy with the tasks of life, and ignored their bond. They didn't notice this until the bond had deteriorated.

Right now the move is away from marriage. The rate of babies being born to unmarried parents is very high and growing. So, couples know marriage doesn't work. They just don't know what else to do.