Divorce has long had a bad reputation. It is often incredibly stressful for the couple and leaves broken families in its path. Have you ever wondered, “does it really have to be this way?” Are there people out there who have successfully dissolved their marriages in a peaceful and healthy way? Are there children who don’t feel like their lives have been torn apart by their parents’ divorce? The answer is yes.
Enter Benjamin Heldfond and Nikki DeBartolo, authors of Our Happy Divorce, and today’s guests on this episode of Divorce, Healthy! When Ben and Nikki got divorced 13 years ago, there were far fewer resources available for collaborative processes and co-parenting. Luckily, they were both able to successfully navigate the divorce process and make decisions that have resonated positively in their lives and the lives of their children.
Benjamin stresses the importance of keeping your child’s best interest at heart. With painful memories of his own parents’ divorce, Ben knew he didn’t want to put his child through the same hardship. Conversely, Nikki’s parents remain married after 52 years, and she claims this was the driving force for making things work throughout the divorce process. (5:26)
At first, Ben did what most people do and hired an attorney. He soon realized his attorney may be more interested in a fight than in doing what was best for Ben and his family. Instead of pursuing a fight, Ben decided to step away from everything for a while. After taking time to weigh his options, he ultimately decided to team up with Nikki to tackle the problem together. “She was on my team and I was on her team. So, if you want to talk about collaborative, that’s the ideal behind it. But we truly were on each other’s team… as team captains.” (19:22)
Ben and Nikki admit that there is no easy way out of a divorce; there will always be fights, arguments, anger, etc. However, there are ample resources for people going through separation and divorce to consider. One resource the couple endorse is the App Fayr, developed by Micheal Daniels, who joins the conversation at 30:12. “Fayr is really just my sincere effort in trying to…communicate on the core issues, the things that need to be communicated on and try to clear up some of the misunderstandings and disagreement that oftentimes escalate into a costly court motion. And it has an emotional cost too.” (30:54)
As Ashley-Nicole mentions in prior episodes, the divorce industry is a broken one, and only some people benefit from it. Echoing her thoughts, Michael says “[Divorce] is such a broken system… everybody talks about the broken system. The truth is the system is working just fine for those who are financially benefiting from it.”(38:37) This is why “we’re all here to try to scream and say, you do not have to follow the norm just because it’s the norm,” says Ashley-Nicole. (45:52)
Like this interview with Benjamin Heldfond and Nikki DeBartolo? Check out How to Move Forward After Divorce, With Divorce Attorney & “Better Apart” Author, Gabrielle Hartley.
To inquire about speaking engagements, purchase your copy of Ashley-Nicole’s book “The Cure for Divorce Culture,” or to schedule your private orientation meeting, head to www.anrlaw.com. You can also find us on social media @ANRLaw. Find a better way forward, right here, on Divorce, Healthy!