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Jan 25, 2011

The Non-Divorce

Divorce Survival

Today is a new day in a New Year!  When I think of the New Year, I always think of the wonders that will unfold, the new, the better, the exciting!  I do not think about sitting stagnant in a less-than-perfect situation, but lo and behold, this is the place that a lot of people are finding themselves due to the slow economy; one of the new stagnant places is the Non-Divorce!  Now, there are plenty of reasons for the modern family to work within the Non-Divorce, some very good reasons, but none of them reason enough for this situation to go on forever. 

Let’s look at the Non-Divorce.

There is no definition for Non-Divorce in Webster’s, so I guess I will have to break this down a bit more. 

  • The definition for Divorce is; a noun; a judicial declaration dissolving a marriage in whole or in part, esp. one that releases the husband and wife from all matrimonial obligations.  Total separation; disunion:  
  • The definition for Non is; a prefix meaning “not,” freely used as an English formative, usually with a simple negative force as implying mere negation or absence of something


This may lead one to believe that a Non-Divorce is, well…a marriage!  But we know it isn’t!  Sadly, the Non-Divorce is a marriage at the end of its life, with a respirator keeping it artificially alive.  A state of marital purgatory!  This is not a place that any healthy person should be for too long, and definitely not without a plan. 

For what reason would anyone choose to stay in the Non-Divorce? 

  • The slow economy, some households are barely scraping by now, let alone split what little they have right now into two households
  • The children:  This can be a transition time for your family, with the help of a family therapist; many families are using this time to help ease the children into the new family dynamic.
  • Flat real-estate market, a lot of families have most, if not all, of their assets in their homes, and today with the market being what it is, the houses are not selling and today with the market being what it is houses are not selling for what they may have in years past, and often will not fetch what is owed on the mortgage.  (But in reality this goes back to the economy.)
  • Health Insurance:  If one partner has been carrying the family on their health insurance, there may be issues with the other person getting health insurance, or a full time job that offers health insurance.

I am sure there are many more, but these are the four that I hear about on a regular basis, and all good reasons not to jump ship, but again, none good enough to keep this lifestyle for an extended period of time.  We as humans crave affection and closeness, something that is unavailable to us in this living situation.  AND if there are children involved this situation for an extended period of time can blur the reality of Marriage for them.

So what should we do if we find ourselves in a Non-Divorce situation?  Well we need a plan, and a few partners in making the plan solid and sustainable. 

The goals of the plan;

  • Family sustainability; clear guide lines and boundaries
  • Action plan, how we move from this Non-Divorce situation to the Divorce and through to the New Beginning
  • Timeline, a reasonable time table to get from point A to point B
  • Understanding, the lifestyle we have been leading is going to change and there may be some hard compromises to be made


Who should we partner with to make this plan a reality?

  • A mediator, preferably an attorney mediator, as this professional can guide you through all the legal aspects as well as the human ones
  • A family therapist, even if there are no children involved, this person can help you work through the tough emotional stuff.
  • A tax professional, this person can best help you with the future filing and what is in your best interest for the future.


Your Plan will help your family transition in as healthy a manner as possible.  Remember you do not have to be married, but you are a family!  Ultimately, you want everyone in your family to thrive, even through difficult at times.  Once you have your Plan up and running, stick to it!  I know it can be hard, but this is the first step into the next chapter of your life, and we want to start off on solid ground.  Your New Beginning awaits you!  Happy New Year!

By Doc Ramstiegn