Socio-psychological features of divorce
Divorce is a very controversial social and moral phenomenon, which is defined in the dictionary of family education as “a way to end a marriage during the lifetime of the spouses.” Divorce is just the finale of a family drama, the legal formalization of a broken marital relationship. There are several stages in the process leading up to the final dissolution of a marriage. It all begins with an emotional divorce, which is expressed in the emergence of a sense of alienation, indifference of the spouses to each other, in the loss of trust and love.
Then comes the physical divorce: the couple is already thinking about the possibility of a legal divorce, but do not consider it the only and best way out of the situation. Marital relations during this period are limited, and marriage partners begin to live separately.
In a trial divorce, the problem is discussed openly. The couple live separately (or, if this is not possible, keep separate households). Most often, such a “trial” divorce is attempted (often unconsciously) to facilitate the transition to a breakup of relationships in a broken family. So a legal divorce is already the end of a long process.
In the opinion of many specialists, divorce, whether forced or voluntary, whatever external reasons it was caused by, and whatever laws were regulated, is not an event in social terms, but a process. This process begins when the couple considers divorce as a real possibility, and ends when it comes to establishing an independent (individual for each) lifestyle. Divorce in the legal sense is only part of a broader process that consists of two main stages: the resolution stage and the restructuring stage. The first stage ends with the decision to divorce. The second stage consists of five separate processes that run mostly in parallel. These include the emotional, legal, economic, parental, and social aspects of divorce. This process ends with the achievement of independence from the former spouse and former family, while it is important to achieve the proper level of cooperation of former marriage partners in matters of material support and upbringing of children who live with one of them.
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Czech psychotherapist S. Krathovil, based on practical experience in providing consulting or therapeutic assistance to divorcing spouses, divided the divorce into three periods: the pre-divorce period; the divorce period; and the post-divorce period. The practice of consulting with divorcing or on the verge of divorce spouses indicates that these three stages are most often distinguished in the relationship of marital partners who have decided to separate. The pre-divorce period is characterized by the fact that the spouses have not yet come to a final decision on divorce, so you can still prevent the filing of a divorce application or take it back if it has already been filed. In this case, there may be a temporary crisis that can still be overcome. Therefore, it is very important to reveal the prospects of meeting the needs of both spouses and achieving positive changes in the relations and functions of the family in terms of child care and the consequences that divorce can cause for both spouses and especially for children.
Spouses can live in an atmosphere in which the mood for divorce prevails. The reason for this may be the effect of divorce myths that support divorce-promoting behavior. Here we are referring to statements that are presented as well-known truths (despite the fact that they do not correspond to reality). Such myths, supported by public opinion, include statements of the following order:
a second marriage is better than the first;
if the marriage failed, then only divorce can fix the situation;
for a child, divorce is not something exceptional, because there are many other children from single-parent families around him;
it is better to divorce than to keep a family in which children will witness conflicts between parents;
after the end of the divorce period everything will fall into place for the children;
if the new partner loves me, he will be happy to have my children.
If one of the partners is under the influence of these or similar myths, it is very important to help them to reject them and eliminate their influence on decisions. However, the resolution of the disputed issue of divorce during this period, among other things, depends on the intensity and duration of the family conflict, on the degree and nature of the pathology of the personality of one of the parents, especially the emotional attachment of the spouses to each other and children, as well as children to their parents.
If the problems that have arisen in the family have not received a solution that suits both spouses, then they make a firm decision to terminate the marriage and enter the period of divorce. A distinctive feature of this period is the manifestation of hard-to-contain negative emotions by divorcing marriage partners.
The emotional state of the couple is characterized by feelings of anger and sadness, fear, guilt, anger, and desire for retribution. In this situation, it is very important to extinguish unwanted emotional heat, help the couple to restrain their emotions and direct their energy to jointly solve specific issues related to divorce, which is most appropriate for both parties, as well as from the point of view of taking into account the interests and problems of children.
Negative emotional reactions of spouses can be contrasted with the desire to come to terms with the loss, a sense of personal responsibility, the development of independence and the formation of new goals. It is necessary to ensure that both spouses agree to the divorce. If the decision to divorce was made unilaterally, the partner considers its initiator guilty, and again there is a sense of loss, neglect, impotent rage or helplessness. The subject of disputes and discord may be issues of property division or child care. In this situation, it is very important to unite and solve emotional problems, so that they do not affect the rational solution of issues related to the domestic side of the divorce.
During this period, it is also important to resolve certain legal issues: division of property, payment of alimony, determination of children to one of the parents and the conclusion of an agreement on meetings with them of the former spouse. It is best to resolve these issues on the basis of mutual agreement. The couple should realize that all their actions should be aimed at facilitating the child’s transition to new living conditions, so that he can maintain an emotional connection and respect for both parents, not lose a sense of security and gradually overcome his confusion.
After the legal formalization of the divorce, the former spouses enter the post-divorce period, the main goal of which is to stabilize the situation and achieve independence for both spouses in the new living conditions. First of all, each of them needs to master a new situation that has arisen during the breakup of marital relations, to prevent possible neurotic and depressive reactions that tend to be fixed in these conditions.
If a woman does not have a strong extramarital relationship with the prospect of marriage immediately before divorce, then, depending on age and the presence of children, her chances of finding a partner more attractive than the previous spouse are not too great or not at all. For a divorced man, despite his obligations to pay alimony, the situation is more favorable. Most divorced men do not consider it profitable to marry. In their opinion, a new marriage should not be an escape from loneliness and responsibility, a manifestation of the tendency to transfer the need for dependence from one person to another. The decision to enter into a new marriage should be based on an Autonomous decision, on the experience of previous elections and the wrong strategy in the previous marriage.
The specific problems of the actual post-divorce period include the continuation of the conflict situation between former spouses. This is especially facilitated by living together after a divorce in the same apartment. Another important issue that arises in the post — divorce period is the regulation of children’s meetings with parents who have left the family (in most cases, with their fathers). Such meetings should be provided in all cases and the problem of their duration and frequency should be resolved beforehand. It is important to consider two aspects of organizing these meetings: when the father can meet with the child (by agreement with the mother), and when the child wants to. This will create a situation close to the normal functioning of the family. However, the child should not be used as an instrument of revenge against the former spouse or as a means of getting closer to him. It should be remembered: if the former spouse no longer has an interest in living together, except for meetings with children, you should not flatter yourself with the hope of his return. The main task in this period is to achieve a new, satisfying balance in the relationship with the former marriage partner (endless arguments, feelings of injustice, desire for revenge), eliminate the possibility of generalization of negative experiences and, consequently, maintain the ability to conclude a new satisfactory marriage.