The Organic Divorce. No Hormones Added.


Who Moved My Cheese, is a story of two mice, “Sniffy” and “Scurry”. The two mice come upon a pile of cheese. They become dependent on the cheese and establish daily routines based on all of the cheese they have. One day, however, the cheese is all gone. Sniffy noticed the cheese supply was shrinking and prepared for the change. Sniffy was fine with the change because he had anticipated this happening. Scurry not so much. Scurry became angry and upset with the change. Scurry had a hard time coping with the change.

Divorce can be similar to the cheese situation. After getting married, spouses get comfortable and establish routines. Spouses become dependent on each other. Then one day their spouse files for divorce. A divorce can create a “who moved my cheese” moment because the established routines and normal flow is changed too quickly. The sudden change can be confusing, frustrating, and scary. An “organic divorce” can reduce these feelings.

An organic divorce is where the spouses slowly separate from the standard routine. An organic divorce differs from a traditional divorce because it allows for adaptation. The typical organic divorce starts with a separation. One spouse moves out and finds another home. The spouses start to use different bank accounts, different credit cards. They agree on an informal visitation schedule for the children. They are separating

The separation can be even more gradual and less drastic. They can start to separate finances, bank accounts, credit cards and pick a date for one spouse to move out. Or maybe they list the home for sale, and both move into different homes after the home sells.

As the spouses discuss what works and what doesn’t work, they begin to adapt. Over time, and through gradual changes in the informal agreements, the spouses will arrive at a plan that works best for them. Instead of quickly and drastically moving the cheese, you have moved the cheese gradually.

Just as an organic divorce can avoid the suddenness and fear that comes with a traditional divorce, it can also be a way to get a spouse to accept something they might not otherwise agree with. For example, consider a spouse that did not work during the marriage and is concerned with how they will earn income after the divorce. With an organic divorce the higher earning spouse may agree to pay more of the bills at first, and over time gradually reduce the amount they pay. This allows the other spouse time to adapt to the change.

Aside from the emotional and psychological benefits there are many legal benefits to an organic divorce. The main benefit is that over time spouses typically come to agreements on custody, how they are dividing the assets, and economic support. These are issues that can be hard to agree on when the cheese is moved too quickly. By coming to an agreement over time, the couple will likely be able to file an uncontested divorce instead of a contested divorce.

There are even legal benefits when your spouse will not agree to an uncontested divorce. Separating is no guarantee your spouse will agree to the terms of divorce. He or she may not agree to the natural agreements that have been established over time during the separation. But these informal agreements will have a big impression with your judge. Judges tend to leave things the way they are. Judges don’t like fixing what is not broken. For example, if you and your spouse have adapted to week-on week-off custody schedule, then that is the most likely schedule the judge would order.

One misconception is you need a legal document to separate or to move out. This is not the case. Married spouses are not obligated to live together or to share bank accounts. Married couples can live in different homes, have separate bank accounts, and decide on their own a visitation schedule for the children. You do not need a legal separation or document to start living separately.

Another misconception is that moving out is abandonment. This is not true. Laws of abandonment were created in a time when wives were completely dependent on the husband. Women did not work and could not own land so their husband could not abandon them. These laws no longer exist. And moving out of the home does not signify you are abandoning any legal rights you might have to the equity in the home. Community property is community property whether you live in it or possess it or not. If you move out, you are still entitled to half the home when you file the final divorce.

Organic divorces are easier on the psyche. Organic divorces tend to lead to uncontested divorces which are cheaper and easier.