Can You Divorce “Nicely?”

Friday, May 6, 2016 | 7:18 pm

If you’ve been on the search for tips on how to divorce nicely then terms such as “conscious uncoupling” and “bird nesting” might ring a bell. The breakup of celebrity couple Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin went viral when Paltrow took to her blog to announce that she and Martin were consciously uncoupling — an amicable divorce or separation that protects the children and is drama-free. Years ago, when reality TV celebs Jon and Kate Gosselin of TLC’s “Jon & Kate Plus 8” separated, they kept their 8 children in the family’s home and alternated being in the home with the children, a term also referred to as “bird nesting.”

According to Don Schweitzer, a Certified Family Law Attorney in Pasadena, couples who go through a smooth and amicable divorce are smart, conscious people. They are sparing their children from the distress of the split and cutting down on the emotional and financial burdens that come with dividing up a home.

If “conscious uncoupling” or “bird nesting” are too avant-garde for your separation, there are reasonable ways to make the dissolution as smooth as possible.

“If couples divorcing understand that California Family Law has pretty clear provisions on how property and assets are divided, then there are three key issues couples can discuss maturely and rationally in order to achieve an easy divorce,” says Schweitzer.

Schweitzer says the main cause for argument in a divorce is over child custody. “Divorce causes emotions to escalate, but if the couple can set those emotions aside and focus on what is best for the child, then they would be ahead of the game,” says Schweitzer. Many parents put their own feelings and wants ahead of what’s best for the child, which opens the door for argument. If both parents agree to create a schedule around the child’s school and activities, it causes less stress for the child and an easier dissolution of the marriage.

The second hot topic in divorce is dividing up a family business or assets. Schweitzer recommends hiring a professional forensic accountant to assess the finances. “If both parties are honest and cooperate with disclosing all financial information, it speeds up the ability for the attorneys to come to a fair division of the assets,” says Schweitzer.

Finally, couples should understand that California Family law makes a distinction between long-term (10 or more years) and short-term marriages and has public policy in place to account for spousal support. “A spouse who makes financial demands to support an unrealistic lifestyle in the spousal support request is only prolonging the close of the divorce and increasing lawyer fees,” says Schweitzer. He also suggests that the spouse who will be awarded financial support should note that it will come with an end date and that he or she will need to take the steps to become self-supporting.” Both parties should consider this time as an opportunity to redesign their life. “Think of life after the divorce — where will you live, how much will it cost and what do you need to do to become independent.”

An easy divorce may be less popular than the ones with soap-opera-like plotlines, but it doesn’t have to be. Schweitzer also believes if couples keep it professional and amicable and not use it as an opportunity to drudge up the past or point fingers, then there is hope for an easy separation. And if you just can’t bare to look your soon-to-be ex in the eyes and have a civil conversation, that’s okay too…that’s what attorneys are for.

If you have any questions about divorce proceedings, contact the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer at (626) 683-8113 or visit







blog comments powered by Disqus