Should There Be An “App” For Divorce?

Clearly, everyone who undergoes a divorce is entitled to his or her own custom-made, personally designed divorce experience. There is most definitely one out there that will fit the bill for everybody who wants one.

As a Coach, Mediator, and Psychotherapist I regularly meet very interesting people and hear some very interesting divorce ideas. I’ve learned about divorce showers, reverse wedding ceremonies (think, “I Undo”), and divorce parties. Recently, I received an invitation to a “Divorce Anniversary Party” (the invite read: “No Gift Necessary though you can have the wedding gift you gave me back, if you can find it!”).

These days there are divorce greeting cards (“We always knew you were a great housekeeper and you did keep the house, Congratulations!”), divorce finalization rituals (one person I know burned his wedding photos while another enjoyed cutting up her wedding gown in the company of friends). I even heard about a ‘Divorce Diet’ where a woman I met put a picture of her ex up on the fridge and every time she was tempted to overeat, she reminded herself that she wanted to look trim for her court date because “It will really burn his biscuits (she actually used a different word that rhymes with glass) to see me looking thin and beautiful!”

So, it got me thinking, are we soon to see a Las Vegas style Elvis Divorce (commemorative painting on velvet extra), a Bride’s Un-Made Factory Outlet, or a Divorce “App” for our cell phones?

There already are a variety of Online Divorce Services (we have online dating, why not online divorce?). Many advertise their e-divorce wares as having, “100% court approval”, “Guaranteed: 20 minutes for your uncontested divorce”, or “Fast and lawyer free”. All you have to do is “Click here to begin your divorce” and you’re off and running!

The truth of the matter is that divorce is not rocket science. Anyone can do it. Every state has laws, guidelines, and necessary forms. Figure these out and fill out your state’s forms and you are on your way. Why doesn’t divorce occur this way more often? The answer may be that the intense emotions that accompany divorce (or any major life transition) can complicate decision making and make moving forward difficult. For example:

Amy* and Matt* wanted a “Quick and easy” divorce, but Matt got so weepy he couldn’t speak whenever Amy tried to discuss where their son “Paul” would attend High School and what soccer team he would play on(since they had finally sold their house and she was planning to move to a different town).Apparently Paul was an extremely talented soccer player who was beginning to get some attention from regional sports professionals. Matt had never told Amy about his secret wish that Paul would become a famous soccer star and that he and Amy would work together to manage Paul’s soccer career. Admitting that this would never happen left Matt feeling defeated and depressed. It became difficult for him to talk with Amy about important issues and make the kinds of decisions that needed to be made together to move through the divorce process. (They decided to have a collaborative divorce.)

Bob* and Betty* were sure an e-divorce was the way to go, right up until they started to discuss who would sell whose share of the house to whom (“I’d like to buy you out”, “No, I insist, I’ll buy you out” “Well then, I’ll buy the upstairs, you can buy the downstairs” “No, I’ll buy the outside, you buy the inside”….) They finally realized they couldn’t agree on anything. (They wanted to try mediation but couldn’t agree on that either: “I’ll pick the mediator” “No way,I will choose a mediator…”) You get the idea.

The options to create a personalized, unique divorce are many. Finding the one that will work for you can take a little time and effort . Ultimately, the type of divorce that is right for you may not be right for Matt and Amy, for Nancy from your office or for Uncle Ted. And, afterwards they might not want to create a 3D divorce photo album, buy the ‘His and Hers’ monogrammed towels (they don’t match, of course) or write an un-love song together. But, you might.

*(Note: Matt and Amy and Bob and Betty have had their names and identities changed to protect their privacy.)