Family Divorce Ceremony

divorce ceremony

7 Important Steps to Take

Unlike a death, which includes a ceremony, ending a marriage and an intact family comes with little formality except for the signing of divorce documents. Separation is painful under any circumstance and when children are involved, it can be especially so.

Marriage begins with a ceremony that formalizes the relationship and gives it a starting point. By creating a divorce ceremony, this can mark the transition point from where the family was, to where it is going. Family separation is a life transition for all members involved and a family divorce ritual is a way to foster an improved relationship between former partners and also improving relationships within the family.

The ritual can be helpful in letting go of the past and for bridging new family relationships. One such ceremony is a “Two Home Family Ritual”. By finding a way to mark the end of the marital relationship and embarking on a journey of compassion, a “Two Home Family Ritual” clears the way for a positive new beginning.

It symbolizes the beginning of a different family configuration. A candlelight ceremony can gently facilitate closure of one relationship and the restructuring of another, and clear the way for creating a two household family. The use of candlelight displays commitment to a co-parenting relationship as well.

One way to represent the past as husband and wife is by lighting a larger candle. Separating the single flame with the use of two smaller candles will further symbolize the new direction the relationship is taking. By blowing out the larger candle together, this reveals mutual acceptance of the ending of that relationship. Allow the smaller candle to light your personal path and to be a guide as you create your own special observance for moving into the next stage as a two home relationship.

  1. Acknowledge positive aspects of the intact family heartfelt moments, and treasured memories. Remembering the positive times can help you and your children accept and heal from the separation.
  2. Symbolize a change of your long-term role from intimate partners, to partners in parenting.
  3. Validate yourself and your former partner, reclaiming mutual respect and cooperation, and honoring each other as parents.
  4. Take responsibility for making a commitment to care for your children, to do whatever it takes to improve the long-term well being of your children. Use the heat of the flame to remind you of your warmth and compassion for your children.
  5. Take the first steps into the future by choosing to shield your child from conflict and acknowledge the transition to creating a well-functioning two household family. Let the brightness of the flame remind you of a hopeful outlook.
  6. Allow your child to love both parents. Like each individual flame, recognize that each parent offers something special to the child.
  7. Accept co-parenting is forever and agree to cooperate on behalf of the children. The movement from the larger candle to the two smaller candles demonstrates the change from united in marriage to independence and a new united relationship as co-parents.

When you give your child the gift of a strong two home family, you are truly giving both yourself and your children something amazing. You are strengthening you and your child’s identity as you embark on this new journey together.

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About Ann Marie Termini

Ann Marie Termini, Ed.S., M.S., LPC is co-founder and director of the Cooperative Parenting Institute in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. She has worked with children and families since 1979. Ann Marie has co-authored several books including Cooperative Parenting and Divorce: 8-Week group program for separating parents, Cooperative Parenting and Divorce: A Parent Guide to Effective Co-Parenting, The Psychotherapist as Parent Coordinator in High Conflict Divorce: Strategies and Techniques and Crossroads. Respected in their field, Ann Marie has conducted numerous seminars on the international and national levels. She has trained parenting coordinators since 1997, and as a result, co-authored the first and only comprehensive model of parenting coordination.

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