The Green Divorce: 10 Tips for an Eco Friendlier Finale

Sure, tying the knot can be done responsibly with low carbon travel and free range fare, but what about severing the bonds?

Worst case divorce scenario? A dark comedy such as The War of the Roses portraying a couple caught up in the kind of ’80s opulence that got our planet in a heap of trouble. They wrangled fiendishly over their manse and Stanfordshire figurines in a turf tussle which ultimately led to their tragic deaths. Hey, their lawyer warned them to go more gently into the fight, but who knew from green back then?

The current climate begs us to seek a more civilized split and sustainable truce with the one we once chose as a life partner. To this end, don’t look to a family lawyer to get you to greener pastures unscathed. They will tend to prolong discoveries and disclosures and red tape to rack up legal bills. You will probably squander too much of your treasured nest egg or kids’ college funds, cling to objects that can’t keep you warm at night and internalize the kind of stress that kills cells and makes you too haggard to attract a date.

Instead, suck it up and take the high road to being free at last. You can’t recycle the romance but you can empower yourself to move past fury and pain to a peaceful resolution, using lawyers as your clerks to process the fair settlement and custody plan you devise. Here are some tips for making that divorce even eco-friendlier than the wedding.

1. Be as Efficient as a Prius

Fire up that sluggish engine and act quickly to devise a settlement plan, which is easier to do in states like California with community property laws. Arrange amicable meetings with your ex over lunch to talk over dividing his and hers. Decide if you need to sell your property or do a buy out and write up your own proposals. The quicker you move, the quicker you can move on.

2. Agree to Let Go of Superficial Attachments

Follow the way of the Buddha. If you aren’t married to the sofa (don’t confuse this with the couch potato glued to Weeds on the sofa), then let him have it. Toss in a couple of throw pillows with a smile. Don’t quibble over the accumulation by deciding there is no material object that supersedes your chance at a new and better life.

3. Chill Around the Children

Chances are your little eco babes Gore and Eartha have already been overexposed to the harmful rays of friction that are causing the split. Now that you are ironing out the details, refrain from bickering and talking about loaded issues around the kids. Instead, help them heal by showing them you still have that core of friendship and can laugh with one another. Don’t dis your ex when you are with the kids because they’re bound to internalize this and spend too much of their inheritance on shrinks.

4. Keep up the Heavy Petting

Share the pet care! Our dogs and cats are part of our families and they need time with both of their parents, providing pets are allowed in our dwellings. Devise a custody sharing plan for the dog too, since it isn’t fair to let one parent get all of the love – and the walks and the poop scooping.

5.  Choose Selling over Storing

When dividing your junk, agree to sell what you cannot use rather than storing the stuff and paying monthly rentals for a space – money that could be used more wisely on dinner dates and charitable donations. Hold a sale together and split the earnings. This includes unloading sentimental objects that force you to live in the past rather than marching to your present. Take out $100 and enjoy a nice meal together, perhaps homemade in the crock or at your favorite haunt for old time’s sake. You will sleep better at night knowing you are carrying a lighter load.

6.  Take Public Transit to the Mediator’s Office

Conserve on fuel – and stress – by riding to work out the grievances. You will feel more relaxed when you arrive at the table to do battle and feel better about yourself for doing your part to spare emissions. No searching for a downtown parking space. No texting your new hottie and risking a ticket while waiting at those long lights.

7. Create a New Picture

Clinging to the old picture is what typically keeps us in a dysfunctional dying marriage. The romantic courtship, the impressive wedding pageantry, the happy family holiday greeting mailed out on December 20th each year. While validating, they keep you living in the past. Visualize a new picture, one in which you are loving your body and treating it right with good, fresh organic food, exercise and massage, thriving at work and in your relationships and giving unselfishly of yourself to your community. You’ve learned the hard way you can’t control your partners or your outcomes, but you can work on being the best you.

8.  Have the Heart to Keep Out of Each Other’s Affairs

You no longer have to check in about personal issues and it can often hurt the one you once loved. You don’t need to hear about her foray into online dating or his enviable weekend getaways. Don’t share financial statements unless it affects your settlement and avoid any co-dependency that could drag you back into a caretaking role. He was never your child. She was never your mother. You made a stab at being lovers and equal partners but it didn’t work. Now it is time to separate it all out and keep it clean with set boundaries.

9. Don’t make Friends Take Sides

Your families will automatically side with each of you but your shared friends are another story. Don’t force a weird disconnect by trashing your ex or looking to double date with the couples in your community, save for your best women and male friends who also had issues with your spouse and supported you through the process. Otherwise, try to share and share alike. It’s a groovier, more evolved approach.

10. We Are Family

You have ended a marriage and set up two households but that doesn’t mean you are no longer a family. School kids are told the politically correct message that families are different – there are ones with two mommies and two daddies, ones like Brad and Angelina’s with ethnically mixed adopted babies or with grandparents raising children. Obviously there are families with moms and dads living apart, but you can soften the blows by getting together for family occasions and playing nice. Birthdays, Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, important holidays and occasional Sunday dinners are all good chances for family time. Does this mean you still have to have your irascible, cigar-puffing father-in-law as a house guest? Hell no! Divorce has its privileges.

Images:Listal; Amazon; Goldberg; Chaquetadepollo; Summeer Poquette; Shearforce; MGifford; Carolj1; Leo Jeje; Cali4beach; Fancy This, Zero Emission Resource Organization

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.