Updated: Dec 4, 2019
It is almost guaranteed that you know somebody who has gone through a divorce or separation. It is likely that you know someone going through one currently. We see divorces as an ending of a relationship. But if you have been involved in a divorce or witnessed one up close you know that despite the marriage being legally terminated there is still a relationship of sorts that continues, especially when there are children involved. This new relationship as ex-partners AND co-parents can be extremely difficult to manage and for this purpose it is wise to visit a therapist together for at least a few sessions so that this new relationship can be properly defined. Call it, divorce therapy.
Divorces are often contentious making any sort of collaboration next to impossible. While the former couple benefits from the physical and psychological space provided by a divorce, they often continue their contentious fighting through their children. Navigating day-to-day life might be more difficult post-divorce than before, making it even more necessary to keep egos in check so that cooperation can be maximized.
To be clear, having a divorced couple see a marriage therapist has nothing to do with trying to save the marriage itself, but the notion that you are "free" from this individual is naive. If there are children involved, you will always be partners in the rearing of your kids. You can't divorce yourself from that responsibility. But it can be next to impossible to support your co-parent after the deep hurt that has taken place that led to the divorce in the first place. Having a trained guide might be exactly what your family needs.
Marriage therapists view situations from a family systems approach. This means we can see the moving parts and how they are effecting each individual in the system. It is not about blaming or demonizing any particular member. Even though the two parents are not married anymore, the family system is still in tact. There are just more complicated fragments. In a safe environment, a family therapist can tap into how each family member views the system about how they are each getting pulled or pushed in different directions. The patterns that caused so much friction before the divorce are likely to continue in their own form after the divorce, unless they are addressed and resolved.
You and your ex ended up being poor marital partners but you can still be effective partners in parenting. It might require only a few sessions, but getting your family system on the right track might be the most important thing you do after your divorce.