Negative Misconceptions about Divorce in America

When spouses seek divorce today, they enjoy a level of freedom and flexibility that wasn’t available even a decade ago. A couple can, now, get divorced without dredging up painful memories or trying to prove guilt (or innocence). As of 2010, every state in the US offers no-fault divorce, meaning no one has to prove misconduct during marriage.

Then why is the stereotype of the scandalous divorce still prevalent?

Bad Information Creates Fear

The truth is, the misconceptions abound, as anyone who’s experienced divorce—and fielded comments from friends and family—will tell you. Just ask a divorce expert who experienced it herself first-hand. Wendy Paris is the author of Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well, and her articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Psychology Today, The Guardian and The Washington Post. When Wendy divorced, she was shocked by the response from friends and family. She assumed “they’d bring over champagne and chocolate truffles.” She was wrong. Instead, she heard warnings that she’d be miserable, “it’s going to get worse. Your child will be destroyed. You’ll be too destitute to work.” Some suggested she change careers instead of husbands. Wendy had a hard time wrapping her head around the “marriage at all costs” feedback she received. She says that it just didn’t add up—today’s divorces are much more equitable and truly allow couples to remain friends.

What the old rumors spinning in the wind did was create a sense of fear and cultivate an attitude of “marriage at all costs”. This fear ignores the facts about no-fault divorces, as well as the success of divorced co-parenting.

Misconceptions Breed Bad Divorces

So what’s wrong with a little misinformation? We’ll find out the truth when we have our own peaceful split, right? Not really. These kinds of stereotypes have a way of putting us on the defensive. We’re looking for ways to feel hurt—or to cause hurt. And we’re too busy leaning back on our heels to come together. We imagine that divorce always has to be adversarial, and we make it so.

Old ideas about divorce deserve to be put in the past. Today, divorce can be a step forward—for both parties.

If you’re starting the process of a divorce, remember that you’re not alone in this process. Call my team to schedule a confidential consultation.


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