August 13, 2014

How Do You End a Marriage?

83266234The statement: “I want a divorce” does not come easily. It is the product of sleepless nights, internal conversations, and hard thought. It comes out of the history of two people, out of love, loss, anger, hurt, hope, disappointment, and the entire myriad of emotions two partners experience over the course of a marriage. The question is – what comes after; do you move forward intentionally or do you just move forward?

Moving forward intentionally means managing the various parts of this ending deliberately and thoughtfully, recognizing that conflict seldom produces the same level of emotional satisfaction that acting with integrity and respect can produce. It also means using the divorce process to build a foundation for positive relationships in the future so that your children can benefit from having the adults in their lives working together as functional co-parents. Moving forward intentionally recognizes┬áthere is more to this process than simply dropping a set of legal papers on your partner that use 1000 words to express the phrase “sorry, I want out.”

Being intentional allows you to address the entirety of this ending; it recognizes that to have a complete ending the emotional, legal, and (perhaps) spiritual bonds threads that have bound two people together over the course of a marriage will have to be unraveled. While we would like to have a clean, quick surgical severing of a relationship’s entanglements, being intentional requires us to admit that there are deeper currents here; understanding that while one person may be ready to leave, the other may not, where one person has done their grieving, the other still holds to a vision of a lifetime together.

To thoughtfully end your commitments to each other takes some time to do it correctly and is not always the simplest path to tread. It is, however, the first step to building a healthier future.

Bruce Cameron
Attorney, Cameron Law, PLLC

Bruce Cameron, JD, MS is a second career attorney, practicing Quaker, and advocate for small town law practices. His solo practice focuses exclusively on collaborative law and mediation with just a soup├žon of estate planning for excitement. Bruce believes that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like collaborative law and mediation, are powerful positive means to reduce the destructive conflict typical of litigation. He has found that a little peacemaking tends to produce better outcomes for his clients. Learn more at

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