A first-of-its-kind national poll to determine if a consensus exists about how divorced baby boomers are holding up was conducted by the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children and the Baby Boomer [Knowledge Center].
Participants in the poll were asked three fundamental questions about the divorce process, their relationship with their "former" spouse and the affects of divorce on the dynamics of the family.
1. What was the most challenging part of getting a divorce: custody of the children, dividing the assets or finances?
2. What life skills would have been helpful when going through your divorce: stress management, coping skills and/or communication skills?
3. What is your relationship now with your former spouse: amicable, have learned to tolerate each other for the sake of the children or can't be in the same room together and do not speak to each other?
Of the people participating in the poll, it was not surprising to learn a majority (41%) report that dealing with finances was the most challenging part of getting divorced. Second most challenging was dividing the assets (19%). A surprise was that custody of the children received the lowest percentage (13%).
The majority of the participants (41%) report that coping skills would have been most helpful during their divorce. Stress management was 28% with communication skills a close third at 26%. This clearly indicates the emotional toll divorce plays in most people’s lives.
Although the results show that 55% of the participants reported having an amicable relationship with their former spouse after their divorce, the comments did not coincide with that high percentage (see respondent testimonials below). Participants reported:
• 15% cannot be in the same room with their former spouse and do not speak to each other
• Only 4% have learned to tolerate each other for the sake of the children.
• "Other" came in at a high 19%.
While finances were said to be the most challenging part of getting a divorce, the comments revealed more about the sadness and embarrassment of divorce. These included: "tearing apart the family," "becoming a single mom," "telling my friends I was divorced," "realizing that I had failed," "learning to be on my own” and “not growing old with my husband."
While the majority of respondents stated they had amicable relationships with their former spouse, many of the comments were far more negative, such as: "no relationship as we hardly speak," "nonexistent," "never see or speak to him," "only e-mail," "no contact," "over--not part of my future," and "not involved in each other's lives at all."
During May 2009 the poll was available to both men and women baby boomers on National Association of Divorce for Women and Children and the Baby Boomer [Knowledge Center]™ websites. To achieve maximum participation the poll was also published on: Menopauserus.com, WrightMinded.com, Wise Heart Coaching, Cyber Hot Flash, the National Association of Baby Boomer Women, Kalon Women, and sent to more than 30 experts from the National Association of Divorce for Women and Children. A total of 1,876 people responded. All responses were anonymous.
About National Association of Divorce for Women and Children
The www.NADWC.org is a 24/7 on-line Resource Center to support, encourage and inspire women going through a life-changing experience such as divorce who want to rejuvenate their own lives and the lives of their children.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, is one of the expert advisors for the organization.
So what does this poll mean for those who provide services to divorcing couples? How can we help ease the emotional turmoil especially when children are involved? These are some of the questions we hope to discuss through interviews and the free teleseminar series taking place during National Child-Centered Divorce Month in July.
We encourage parent participation, media contact, questions and exploration of new alternatives available especially for parents as they move through the divorce maze.
To learn more about National Child-Centered Divorce Month contact Rosalind Sedacca at Rosalind@childcentereddivorce.com or visit www.childcentereddivorce.com.