#DivorceSelfie – It’s a Thing

Social Media DivorceSara Olsen and her husband of 25 years finalized their divorce on Aug. 20, 2016.

Afterward, they went out for a beer and posted a #divorceselfie to Instagram. They’re among a growing number of divorced spouses who document the final stage of their divorce for all on social media to see.

“Totally normal, right?” Olsen wrote in her Instagram caption. “Seems appropriate because nothing we’ve ever done is normal. I’m grateful to this guy for 25 sometimes good, sometimes not-so-good, years together…Instead of being disappointed that our choice to be together didn’t last forever, we choose to accept that sometimes good things fall irreparably apart, to be thankful for the adventures we had…”

Shelly Picarella posted a #divorceselfie to Instagram in February 2016 that said after 16 years, she and her husband finally gave each other the perfect Valentine’s Day and anniversary gift: a divorce.

In December 2016, Mat Monroe posted a #DivorceSelfie to Instagram with his former husband making a champagne toast. The caption: “Celebrating a successful divorce.”

A woman who goes by the handle “HeatherofSparta” on Instagram posted in August 2015 that she also had live tweeted her divorce. She posted a collage her and her ex-husband with the caption: “Got a #divorce today…Forever wasn’t as long as we had anticipated but it was a beautiful trip we took…I trained him super well, but sorry ladies, he’s already taken. As for me, I’m going cat shopping.”

Divorce often is marked by anger and meanness. Working with clients who are divorcing their spouses can mean working with good people who are on their worst behavior. Estranged spouses can be angry and hostile toward one another. Sometimes divorce is seen as an opportunity to exact revenge when a spouse feels they have been wronged.

The #divorceselfie trend may give others hope that it doesn’t have to be this way. Perhaps those couples with smiles on their faces as they stand in front of courthouses remind others that amicable divorce is possible.

And that’s a good thing, because an amicable divorce that stays out of court also is cheaper. Parting peacefully and amicably means you and your soon-to-be ex get to make your own choices and decisions. If you take your case to court, someone else decides who gets what.

While some on social media have applauded the #DivorceSelfie, others have voiced their displeasure. Detractors call the photo hashtag a “marriage participation trophy.” Others accuse the couple of not taking marriage and divorce seriously.

“I disagree,” says attorney John Griffith, a certified family law specialist. “Try as you may, sometimes marriages don’t last. I think it’s a good sign when a couple can part on good terms, particularly if children are involved.”

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