Focusing on 'Winning' Divorce is a Losing Battle

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A new study commissioned by Wakefield on behalf of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals reveals one in five Americans, as in 48 million, know someone who got so caught up in 'winning' a divorce that their family, work or social life suffered.

A new study commissioned by Wakefield on behalf of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals reveals one in five Americans, as in 48 million, know someone who got so caught up in 'winning' a divorce that their family, work or social life suffered.

The independent poll of 1,000 Americans also exposed demographic differences concerning what is often referred to as a "nasty" divorce:

  • More to loseā€¦or win: Americans with higher household incomes (at or above $50,000) were more likely to have witnessed someone suffer trying to "win" their divorce.
  • Sandwich generation, feeling the squeeze: Respondents ages 35-54 were most likely to know someone who got so caught up in 'winning' their divorce that their family life, work life, or social life suffered. In addition, a 2007 survey by The American Psychological Association revealed 83% of women in this same age bracket said relationships with their spouse, children and family are the top source of their stress.
  • No child's play: With or without children of their own, respondents were nearly equally likely (20% vs. 22%) to know someone who was negatively impacted by trying to 'win' a divorce.

In recent weeks, a steady stream of media attention has focused on how divorce can negatively impact children as a result of the Gosselin family headlines. Nearly ten million viewers tuned-in for the May 25th season premiere of TLC's Jon & Kate Plus 8, which left many Americans talking about the negative effects a nasty divorce could have on the Gosselins' eight children.

"What many people do not realize is that they have the option for a less stressful, yet effective, divorce and dispute resolution model which addresses the emotional and financial well-being of all parties involved, especially children," said MaryEllen Linnehan, president of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals.

Collaborative Practice enables divorcing couples to resolve disputes respectfully and equitably without going to court. The process also empowers couples to make decisions about their own futures, unlike other divorce resolution models, which put decision-making in the hands of judges and other legal professionals.

Through Collaborative Practice, couples also gain the unique and comprehensive perspectives of a team of professionals, including a divorce coach, child specialist, financial specialist, and attorney, to help the family devise a solution tailored to the specific needs of each family member.

"By divorcing through Collaborative Practice, couples can avoid the stress of battling in a courtroom and work to achieve an equitable and peaceable resolution," Linnehan said. "It is our hope that as more couples turn to Collaborative Practice, the number of Americans knowing individuals whose family, work, or social lives have suffered, as a result of trying to 'win' their divorce, will decrease."

About the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals: The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals (NYACP) is an interdisciplinary association of professionals in the fields of law, mental health and finance that serves as the "voice" for Collaborative Practice in the greater New York area. NYACP advocates for a client-centered approach that enables divorcing and transitioning parties to resolve conflicts in a non-adversarial way, preserving dignity and respect while producing positive outcomes. The association helps its members maximize their potential and advance their practices through networking, training and increasing public awareness of the benefits of Collaborative Practice. NYACP is a member of International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), which has over 3,000 members in 19 countries worldwide. To learn more, visit http://www.collaborativelawny.com.

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Danielle Cyr

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