More about how to tell family and loved ones you are separating

This blog is for couples that want to preserve important family relationships. Couples who somehow have come to that place that regardless of who initiated it feel like –no matter how hard it is — that separation or divorce is the next step. Now you both feel its time to tell family and very close friends. A few tips: FIRST–be together on this. Know you both agree that separating or divorce is the right next step. If you are both not on that page– take more time to get clear on that before you share with loved ones. You will only get involved, caring people unnecessarily concerned about a decision that is apparently not mutual. Also if you are not together you will be inviting sides to be taken and interference will begin. Having said that if one of you is truly “leaving the relationship” without taking time to help the other adjust, then perhaps you are reading the wrong blog. Remember a green divorce takes two! SECOND–start with parents and siblings. Depending on how close you both are to both families you might have to do this in stages. But leave little time between telling family members, as the news will fly. Small families are easier. THIRD–Be direct, be brief, and be together. FOURTH-be prepared for your news to be heard and most likely experienced as an upcoming loss. You may get a “grief reaction” of disbelief. This is hard, so be prepared and be together. The usual order of concern is 1) first about your children, 2) then about how your separating will affect them, 3) then... read more

So how do you tell family and friends you are separating…?

So you have come to the point where you both agree that it is time to seriously consider putting your marriage to rest. A green divorce is all about ethics and accountability to your selves, each other and others in your lives during this difficult time.  This brings us to one of the green divorce principles regarding accountability: a green divorce is a process that is designed with sensitivity to the long lasting emotional and financial impact on the individuals involved as well as family members and the community at large. It is also about sustainability. Sustaining and supporting relationships you have made as a couple. This is vitally important if you have children. Forcing friends and family to choose between you has a toxic impact on everyone in a profound way. It is like the affects of harmful chemicals poured into a river which cannot be measured at the time but are inevitable. Thinking carefully about how you tell others begins with what you tell yourselves and each other. You do not owe details, simply thoughtful information with the understanding that you matter and people naturally will care.  It sounds like a big responsibility. It is. Commitments and contracts are not to be taken lightly. You have chosen the right way to face this difficult decision together. Deciding together how and when you will tell those in your lives. Working together to conserve and save emotional energy, money and relationships will provide rewards for both of you. So how do you tell your family and friends? Hands down the most important and vulnerable people in a divorce are children.... read more

How to ask a loved one for a divorce…?

How to prepare for and approach this very difficult conversation? If you do things right it will happen and unfold on it’s own. Let’s say for the sake of discussion that we are going to take love and all of its complexities out of the mix. Whatever made your relationship work for the two of you is no longer working for one of you, correct. Chances are if it is not working for one of you, it isn’t working for either of you. You are a couple; a team and what affects one of you will undoubtedly have an impact on both of you. The green divorce actually starts long before the point where you feel a divorce is necessary. So if you are here, gently take a step back. A green divorce starts with that earliest recognition of dissatisfaction and how we address it at that time. We turn to our loved one/partner with respect and attempt to regain that workability before we decide to put our marriage to rest. You owe that to each other and to yourselves. There are a number of ways couples do this. But the idea is that they address this together. Talking, sharing, arguing even, but together. Usually counseling is discussed and tried. Perhaps even mediation at this point or conflict coaching. But they try these things together. This way they are always on the same page, not necessarily a happy one, but the same page nonetheless. This is honest, sad and hard, but it is the pay dirt of integrity. How you end your marriage will either set you free or... read more

Beginning the Green Divorce

So as you begin to think about leaving your loved one, before you bolster yourself with support from friends and family to make the next step remember you may be hurting what others think of your spouse? Does he/she even know how you feel? Have you given them the opportunity to help? It is not criminal to be unhappy in a marriage. It is not criminal to feel trapped and want to change your relationship. It is, however, very wrong to create negative images of your soon to be ex to justify your emotions and what you may be about to do. Be accountable for your own emotions. Do not blame your spouse for the way you feel. You are always 100% responsible for creating your own reality. You have choices. If you are unable to do that with your partner, then own that. Do not blame it on them. Chances are he/she is more tuned in to how you feel than you realize. The opening lines of the famous classic Les Miserables by Victor Hugo says in  my paraphrased version, that nothing will affect a man’s life or what will become of him more than what is said about him. What he was talking about then in the 17th century was in a word “reputation”. So you wonder why here in this green divorce blog I begin by talking about what you say about each other to others. It is because a truly green divorce begins with accountability. Choosing the way we begin the separation process by using with compassion and thoughtfulness toward our spouse and ourselves.  Your ability... read more


Like many of us in the field of Divorce and Mediation, I too, have my divorce story as a child of parents who separated.  My desire to provide this blog is born from my childhood experience with divorce and my adult environmental activism. Extreme and harmful waste is associated with our current style of divorce. Waste and damage; both financial and emotional. On the way back from Rochester one particularly beautiful day, I had an overwhelming feeling that what I do with my families, who come to me for a divorce, is not enough. We drive Praises, recycle and use solar energy. We no longer want the traumatic, time consuming, costly divorce of the past. I believe in our society, it is no longer socially acceptable to diminish a former spouse, or utilize taxpayer dollars to fight your spouse in court. We are ready for a cultural response to divorce. When we marry our union gives birth to an entity that we call family. That family becomes a presence in many people’s lives. As we divorce that family is at risk.  The union that created it is dissolving; so great and tender care must be given to preserving that family entity, that presence in so many people’s lives. Our current divorce culture does not provide a safe alternative, which preserves and protects the family. Even mediation does not complete the process. Marriages that are dissolving do not belong in the courthouse.  They are tender and they are vulnerable and they are attached to families and children and relatives. It is not a safe environment, yet we are informed, that... read more