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What About Us? Divorcing Couples Who Don’t Have Children – Part 2

{4:24 minutes to read}

What About Us? Divorcing Couples Who Don’t Have Children - Part 2 by Ada HasloecherIn the next few articles, we will be exploring the different issues in a mediation between couples who do not have children and those who do. In the first article of this series, I parsed out the 4 general categories that these couples may fall into. In the next few articles. I’ll reiterate those categories and expand on each.

Fairly newly married – perhaps under a year to 3 years:

I’ve seen a number of these couples over the years, and for the most part, they are generally in their 20s or early 30s. What happened? For many, they may have entered into the marriage too hastily and realized they made a mistake. They are ending it before they get in any deeper, have children or make matters worse. For some, there could have been a qualifying event (perhaps a betrayal/affair, etc.) that became too monumental a breach for any reconciliation to occur.

I think it takes a lot of guts to call it quits this early, and I’m very empathetic when this young couple walks into my office. I’m sure there was a lot of pressure from well-meaning family and friends to work it out, stick it out, hang in there – especially if there was a huge and costly wedding and/or the parents helped finance a new home to help the newlyweds. Sometimes I suspect that there may have even been second thoughts on the marriage as they walked down the aisle. What turmoil they must have experienced trying to put on a happy face when deep down they knew they were making a mistake!

Generally, these couples have kept all their financial transactions separate: Bank accounts, credit cards, car insurance, cell phone plans, etc. They generally waive their rights to each other’s investments and retirement plans. If they do own a house together, we need to work through what is going to happen to it, i.e. if one wants to keep it and buy the other one out or they are just going to put it up for sale (often when they see me, they have already listed it) and call it a day.

The financial piece is usually simple and straightforward. But I think it’s the emotional piece that is the most difficult. There is usually a deep sadness, disappointment and, I would say, a little shame that accompanies these couples. The second guessing and sometimes anger at themselves and blame for the other is palpable.

  • “What was I thinking?”
  • “Why didn’t I listen to my parents, my friends….?”
  • “What are people going to think?”

Dealing with and ultimately settling these overwhelming feelings is going to take time. Hopefully they will seek the counsel of a trained therapist to help them come to grips with and learn from their experience.

These mediations can often be done in one session with a little email follow up to tighten up some information. I generally send them a list of things to bring to the session so we can accomplish everything in one meeting. My experience is that these couples want to get this done as soon as possible and see each other as little as they have to.

In Part 3, we will look at divorcing couples without children who have been married 3-10 years. While there are some similarities to the couples married less than 3 years, there are complicating factors that surface given the greater length of marriage.

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Ada L. Hasloecher

Divorce Mediator / Center Founder
Divorce & Family Mediation Center, LLC
Phone: 631-585-5210
eMail: Info@DFMCLI.com
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