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I just read the review of a new novel entitled, A Perfect Divorce. I haven’t read the book which was written by Avery Corman, author of Kramer vs. Kramer, but the reviewer notes that the author returned to the subject of divorce picking a title “with a degree of irony.”

There is no question that a perfect divorce like a perfect storm is a rare phenomenon. But it’s sad that so many divorcing parents don’t even try to attain perfection in the process for the sake of the kids.

I recently had the mother of three children tell me, with both sadness and anger in her voice, that, “It’s hopeless, no matter what I do or how I do it my husband will fight me. And the kids are getting hurt.”

Maybe parents have to get approach a perfect divorce in stages. Almost every person I know who is contemplating divorce is angry at the spouse. This anger has to be dealt with especially if children are involved. Children are devastated by parental fighting and torn apart when one parent vents his or her anger at the other.

So a logical first step on the road to a perfect divorce is: DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER. Marital counseling, even when you both know the marriage is over, can definitely help. Think of these sessions as a present to your children. You can learn together what can and cannot be said to each other and come up with a COMMUNICATION PLAN that works. The marriage may be over but, if children are involved, the communication will be needed for many years.

The next step is figure out how to be AMICABLE and PLEASANT with the person you are divorcing. You already know how to be amicable with casual acquaintances. You don’t glare at co-workers or put them down or yell at them. You may not like them but you follow society’s rules about polite interaction. Learn to follow these rules when dealing with your ex.

Avoid NEGATIVE ASSUMPTIONS about divorce. Don’t assume that, because the marriage didn’t work, it’s hopeless. Be positive. Look to mediation instead of a court procedure to settle custody and financial issues. Most post-divorce fighting that parents ask me about deal with children (visitation, discipline, beliefs and attitudes toward TV, homework, etc.) or money. It is rare indeed that two households can be run as cheaply as one.

Make and keep your DIVORCE VOWS (see ParenTip: Divorce Vows).

EXPECT IMPROVEMENT. Today you may fight every time you see your ex-spouse so use email to communicate. But you are also following the communication plan and working on amicability. Next month try going out for coffee when there is an issue to discuss.