Taking “divorce selfies” is becoming increasingly popular among divorcing couples. The trend signals a shift to more amicable splits for the sake of the children involved and encourages a healthy approach to what can be a stressful, emotional process.
Canadian couple Shannon and Chris Neuman filed for divorce at a Calgary, Alberta, courthouse on 8/27/2015. They took a selfie together afterwards and posted it on social media to commemorate the end to their 11-year marriage. The photo has been shared more than 36,000 times on Facebook since then.
Although the couple has been lauded for setting a positive example for co-parents, they have also been criticized for seemingly celebrating their divorce. In the accompanying caption, Shannon Neuman explained that she and her ex-husband were smiling in the photo because they knew they were doing “something extraordinary” for their two children. She wrote, “We have respectfully, thoughtfully and honorably ended our marriage in a way that will allow us to go forward as parenting partners for our children … so they will never have to choose.”
Now that the photo has gone viral, Shannon Neuman hopes the couple’s co-parenting strategy inspires others. She has encouraged other divorcing spouses to focus on their love for their kids rather than negative emotions regarding their ex-partner.
By using a lighthearted way to announce what is often a heartbreaking situation, this couple is showing that divorce does not have to be ugly and acrimonious. They have chosen to treat each other with respect and embrace the fact that they can move forward with the next chapter of their lives, putting the well-being of their kids at the forefront of every decision they make.
Moreover, the decision to co-parent is just the first step. Achieving an effective co-parenting method is not an easy process. Each parent has to consistently work together to overcome challenges and put their personal differences aside. That way, kids do not feel torn or compelled to choose a side.
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Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Orange County divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation and mediation of other family law matters.