Santa Monica Observer August 18, 2002


Are you aware that "since 1972, millions of children each year have lived through the divorce of their parents"? (from Breaking Up is Easy To Do by Brian Willats) In addition, according to The Abolition of Marriage by Maggie Gallagher, "among the millions of children who have seen their parents divorce, one of every 10 will also live through three or more parental marriage breakups."

The following are some questions you have asked about protecting your children from the emotional and financial effects of separation and divorce. When we analyze divorce options, we must consider both legal issues and recognize the results our decisions will have on the future of our children.

Dear Divorce Coach©,

I am at a crossroads; my husband and I have three sons. Their father is so tough with them. We have been married for 10 years. I feel so miserable and frightened. He controls the money, US, everything! I don't want to make it worse for my children. I am afraid of breaking up this marriage to enter something unknown. What should I do?

Miserable Mom

Dear Mom,

We may be torn; afraid to leave and afraid to stay. I was often in PANIC, STAGE I, during my own 2nd divorce. If your husband has been violent in the past, do not discuss divorce unless you are with a 3rd party. While you may have to face many other challenges during divorce, your family's safety is protected by law if you follow certain guidelines. There are tips on Nonviolent Communication available in our 101 TIPS BOOKLET. If I had learned to empathize with my controlling husband, my marriage and divorce may have been very different. If you can inspire- not threaten-your husband to enter family therapy, you may find that all your lives will improve dramatically. Please visit to review THE 7 STAGES OF DIVORCE© so that you can understand what your family is experiencing.

Dear Divorce Coach©,

I have been married for 17 years. I know that the "D" word is coming; we have 3 children. I thought my marriage would last and I love my wife but I guess it's true; nothing is forever. I don't know the first step to take; I'm afraid I'll lose everything. Can you please advise me?


Dear Lost,

Thank you so much for realizing that you are "at a loss" and for contacting me before making crucial decisions. You may feel worried because your needs for financial and emotional safety are not being fulfilled. This is what most of us have felt as we contemplated divorce. I advise these first steps:

1. Consult an accountant privately to discuss finances BEFORE you or your wife file for divorce or move out.
2. Interview mediators and attorneys and be prepared with your choice
3. Discuss options for your children's future with your wife.
4. Consider that counseling or coaching will offer a safe environment for both of you to compromise.


The Divorce Coach©

Please send your questions to





Susan Allan COO of The Divorce Forum™