Barbie and Ken Divorced Amicably. Could I Expect the Same for Myself?
I heard “Divorced Barbie” is now on the toy store shelves. Can these icons continue to be images of perfection in the perfect divorce? In the midst of emotional upheaval, it can be tough to put on a beautiful face. The best outcome can be obtained by keeping emotions aside and dealing with the business at hand. It is a wise couple who draws a mental picture of who they will be after the divorce is final.
If Barbie and Ken could plan the perfect outcome, they might begin by sitting down and discussing the legal and financial issues that will determine their impending divorce. Then they would be prepared, together, to face the divorce process as the dissolution of a business.
“Let’s add everything up and divide it in half,” says Ken. “Then for those are things that can’t be divided, let’s toss a coin and whoever wins can decide something they want. The other person can identify what they want next.”
“We can draft a letter to all our friends and family so together we can tell them what’s happening,” says Barbie. “That will eliminate the gossip and everyone can hear the truth at once. We’ll stay friends and keep our friends. We’ll still have fun together with everyone.”
“We can use the same attorney, accountant and psychiatrist,” Ken adds. “This will be equitable and amicable and nobody will get blamed for anything.”
“To make things more comfortable,” says Barbie. “Let’s hold off on dating until this divorce is finalized. And not have sex with anyone else yet.”
“Can we still have sex with each other?” asks Ken.
The beautiful duo could then make an appointment with the divorce attorney. At the initial meeting, as the two talk about their marital history, the attorney might begin by asking these three questions:
How did the marriage start?
What went wrong?
What are the causes or grounds for this divorce?
I remember thinking about the answers to these questions as I related my marital history to my own attorney. My marriage started, like many others, because it was the next step to take in the relationship. I had not planned or prepared for being married. I was earning my journalism degree and was preparing myself for a writing career. Now I would embrace building a home, a family and a career all at once. It was a full plate.
I was also not prepared for the destruction of the marriage or the disappointment when my Barbie and Ken life was shattered. But there was a new kind of work to be done. It was now up to me to prepare myself for a dignified divorce and a new life. If only we had sat down as Barbie and Ken in this article, maybe my ex and I would have preserved and protected our friendship.
With no legal or business background, I searched for qualified professionals to advise and guide me. I was on a learning curve, becoming familiar with financial statements and the court process; making sense of the confusion and preparing for the time when I would sit at the negotiating table.
Susanne Katz is the author of “A Woman’s Guide to Managing a Mid-Life Divorce,” the host of the radio program, “What Women Want Now” and a columnist for Atlanta Jewish News. She is also a regular on ShareWIK.com
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