I call this trend the “undivorce” as it seems that couples are coming to mediation to save their relationships rather than unwind them. ‘Fresh start’ are often the words used to describe the couples’ intention. With a parenting plan in place and their financial world separated, spouses can rework a new path to intimacy, respect and adoration. Or so they hope.
An undivorce separates the couple’s world and creates the distance to re-evaluate individual needs and if the relationship still works for each individual . The separation agreement is the legal document that protects each individual should the relationship not rekindle. With parameters set, the couple can live apart from one another. Also, finances are not intertwined and parenting roles are understood with each parent maintaining their, agreed to, roles and responsibilities with regard to the children’s care.
The major difference between those seeking an undivorce and those who enter my mediation room with the intention to divorce, is that the undivorce couples never intend to file for divorce. Sometimes the intention is to re-explore the relationship and I’m seeing more and more of this in my mediation room. Other times, religious values and beliefs make filing for divorce a non-negotiable ideal.
Some people separate and remain so for several years without filing for the final divorce decree. Either way, it is important to set a separation agreement in place to protect you, legally, with regard to your rights and obligations. It also sets your intentions for how you both intend to bring up your children before your spouse opts out of the relationship and finds someone else who will influence their decisions regarding parenting. And, of course, you may not agree!
So, if you’re not sure about your relationship but you don’t want to commit to divorcing your spouse, do you think an ‘undivorce’ is a good alternative? Or is it a rather drastic way of assessing the merits of a marriage?