Don’t Forget the Cake


How to Have a Joint Divorce Party


Having a divorce party as a way to celebrate the end of a marriage is gaining popularity all across the US. Divorce parties vary greatly: newly divorced women burn their wedding dresses, newly divorced men go on a bender in Vegas. People arrange huge stag parties and hen nights, and so on and so forth. But what about celebrating divorce in a more positive and even somewhat romantic format, together with your ex? Does it sound too extreme?

Jeremy and Sophia from Portland, Oregon, call themselves people who know everything about a beautiful separation. They have shared their experience in throwing a joint divorce party.

Jeremy, 38: Sophia and I were together for seven and a half years, a little more than six of which we were married. We decided to get a divorce when it became clear that we had problems with a shared vision for the future. First, we have tried to synchronize our life plans, but the closer we came to their implementation, the more it became clear that they differ a lot. I would like to have children soon, but Sophia has no such plans. I want to move to NY after some time, but Sophia connects her life with Oregon.

How to prevent legal procedures from spoiling an amicable breakup

In Oregon, there is the option of a simplified dissolution of a marriage. Yet, it turned out that Sophia and Jeremy were not qualified for it since they did not meet the requirements of Summary Dissolution related to a couple’s income limits.

Sophia, 35: We decided to file for divorce as co-petitioners anyway, but we needed to fill out more papers than for a simplified divorce and draw up a settlement agreement to divide our property. All I wanted was to avoid paperwork. We did the most challenging thing – we broke the stereotypes of divorce, and we separated with dignity. After that, I wanted the rest to be as easy as possible. I did not want to delve into the legal process, waste time on bureaucratic matters, and skip work because all these boring and distressing details take too much time.

Fortunately, we were advised to use CompleteCase, an online divorce service, which takes on all the paperwork issues. We just had to sign the paperwork kit completed for us individually. I received it by email. It took just a day, I guess. We contacted an online divorce solicitor to ask a few questions about the division of our property. Since our assets include intangible assets, like intellectual property rights, not everything was simple enough for us to do by ourselves.

In general, I am so happy to live in the 21st century! You can settle almost everything online, without undue stress and expenses. I sincerely believe that a traditional contested divorce may even cause conflicts to appear from thin air. Divorce is a big market, and divorce attorneys know what they’re doing. Instead, we were happy to spend the same money on a great party!

How did the idea of the party come about?

Jeremy, 38: The idea of the party came to Sophia’s mind. At first, I was skeptical about this, but after a while, I got dragged into the preparations with pleasure. Our friends took the idea well. They were sorry for our divorce, but no one started moralizing about the cynicism of having such a party. At least, no one refused to come because of some disagreement with our ethical position. As you can imagine, though, our relatives weren’t exactly enthusiastic.

Holding a wake is a ritual in almost all nations and cultures; it’s not for nothing. And we think that divorce parties should play the same role. They also help you hold on to good memories of the marriage. It is known that the brain forms a long-term impression of an experience-based primarily on two things: the peak emotional experience and the final one. Therefore, a beautiful and uplifting resolution is essential. Besides, this is just a good reason to gather all your friends and have fun.

After the party, we were much more relaxed about the divorce.

 I think the party helped us to let it go.

Sophia, 35: In fact, even when our relationship just began, it was clear that our life plans did not coincide. But being blinded by love, we decided to neglect this fact and go with the flow. I did not want to have children, but I hoped that I would like to in the future when I would already have money and a successful career. But it turned out to be the opposite: the more exciting my career developments, the more it hurt to give them up. So I had to go to plan B, that is, file for divorce.

We suit each other, but only here and now. We just don’t see the point of being married, say, in three years. And the time is so precious, so we do not want to steal it from each other. We realized that we could no longer make each other’s life happier with each new day.

This approach helped us to get divorced without big claims to each other. In this context, a divorce party is a pretty logical decision.

What is Wrong About Traditional Divorce

Attitude towards divorce is gradually changing. As technology progresses, life expectancy increases and women develop economic independence, it becomes increasingly unlikely that marriages will last a lifetime. But even the previous generation perceives a divorce as a personal tragedy and failure.

Such an approach gives rise to at least three problems.

Firstly, people delay the inevitable divorce for too long. They get divorced when they already hate each other. Secondly, since the fact of divorce is perceived as a colossal failure, this also generates hatred for the partner.

In our society, it is still believed that if people get divorced, they should treat each other negatively, they should quarrel and say bad things. Thus, the public understands that everything is really bad. And if the spouses do not swear, friends and relatives could have the feeling that all this was not real. This is another reason to have a party: the partners show everyone that they are divorced for real, but they are OK with that and do not need pity.

And the third reason is that even a peaceful and amicable divorce is still sad. Both parties have some kind of disappointment, frustration, and a sense of abandonment. So the divorce holiday is great because it reinforces faith in a happy future. As if one life ritually “dies” and another is born. A party can be an excellent thing to capture changes in life.

Divorce party new traditions

Jeremy, 38: We rented a beautiful loft, had a DJ, wine, and a delicious divorce cake. Yet, with parties like ours, there is a big problem: there are traditions for weddings, but not for divorces. Therefore, we have been trying for a long time to figure out how to beat this all. We thought about how to convert traditional wedding rituals. It was not clear, for example, what we should do when everyone starts clinking glasses. But the guests themselves proposed a solution: kissing someone else. And we agreed.

Sophia, 35: We also had a game that is suitable for large gatherings, where there are many guests who won’t know each other. We handed out pieces of paper to our guests, on which it was written: ‘Today at the party there are a lot of interesting people. Try to find a person who…’ And then the options were offered: ‘can do a cartwheel,’ ‘has earned a million dollars,’ ‘visited Antarctica,’ and so on. The audience liked the game: many even engaged in an active search. And the process itself created new connections. After all, another important function of the divorce party is to allow friends to network, because this party may be the last joint party for both partners’ friends.”

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Don't Forget the Cake
How to Have a Joint Divorce Party
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