With so much advice coming from all different directions — friends, family, lawyers, blogs — stress and confusion can keep you from making the most rational, logical decisions when going through a divorce. Sometimes it’s best to get out of your own head for a few hours, so we’ve compiled a few movies that might help put your current situation into perspective.
This film by Danny DeVito may not be the most obvious choice, but the fantastically dark tale of a couple (Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner) who turn their lives upside down just to spite the other offers a meditation on what not to do when going through a contentious divorce.
Although DeVito (who also plays a divorce attorney) tries to convince his client to work through their issues with his wife by telling him the story of the Roses, no one should stay with someone they don’t trust or respect. So, if reconciliation is not an option, remember that strong communication and a willingness to compromise is key to a smooth, stress-free divorce.
Robin Williams portrays a man who goes to extreme lengths to spend time with his kids after separating from his wife in this Oscar-winning film. On the surface, dressing up as an old British woman may seem borderline psychotic, but deep down, it’s merely the desperation of a man willing to change everything if it means becoming a better father (and a better man).
In most cases, each parent loves their child equally, so keeping one parent from being a part of their children’s lives can hurt both the child and parent. Of course, not all parents deserve to raise their children, but before making any rash decisions, take a step back and be open to making a reasonable decision based on how willing the other parent is at changing their life.
Another Oscar-winning film that deals with the parent-child relationship, this film focuses most of its energy on custody. Meryl Streep plays a woman who leaves her husband (Dustin Hoffman) and child (Justin Henry), then returns months later to reclaim custody after the two men have formed a deep bond.
Your job as a parent is to make the divorce process as stress free as possible. When pettiness rears its ugly head and you tear down your spouse for personal gain, it can have lasting negative effects on a child. Also keep in mind that fathers also have rights that should be taken into account when deciding on custody.
The moral of all these films is to remove hatred, fear, resentment and pettiness from the equation when dealing with divorce and work together to compromise efficiently and see the situation from the other point of view. In this way, you’re able to move through the process with ease and make everyone feel they’ve been heard and are happy with the outcome.