Wendy Paris, MSW, MFA: Family Resilience and Well-being After Separation | All Together #35

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Wendy Paris, the author of the groundbreaking book Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well

This podcast addresses the negative reputation and challenges associated with divorce and separation. Listeners can expect to hear discussions and insights on how to have a “good divorce” by exploring topics such as coexistence with an ex-partner, maintaining compassion, and finding ways to live a fulfilling life during the process.

Meet Wendy Paris

Wendy Paris is an accomplished author and expert in the field of divorce and relationships. She is renowned for her groundbreaking book, Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well, which explores the concept of having a positive divorce experience. Additionally, she has co-authored popular books such as Buy the Change You Want to See and Don’t Quit Your Day Job.  

Her writings have been featured in esteemed publications such as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Psychology Today, Inside Philanthropy, the Jewish Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in writing from Columbia University and recently earned a Master of Social Work degree from Ohio State University. Wendy resides in Santa Monica, California.

About the episode

In the conversation, Wendy begins by addressing the negative reputation associated with divorce and how it is often portrayed in the media. She emphasizes that the perception of divorce has evolved over time. 

In the past, divorce was stigmatized, and children of divorced parents often faced challenges, such as losing contact with one parent. However, Wendy highlights that society’s view of divorce has shifted and is now more common and accepted. Joint custody arrangements have become more prevalent, and the importance of both parents’ involvement in a child’s life is recognized.

Wendy explained that her initial interest in the topic stemmed from personal experience. Through her research, Wendy has discovered that a “good divorce” is characterized by mutual cooperation, compassion, and avoiding adversarial legal battles. She emphasizes that divorce can be challenging but does not have to be a calamity, as society’s perception has changed significantly.

Wendy introduces her “seven principles of parting,” which provide guidance for individuals going through a divorce or separation. These principles include focusing on self-care, taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, making logistical preparations, avoiding rushing legal processes, managing anger constructively, resisting comparisons with others, and finding positive moments during the challenging process.

Wendy suggests that effective communication, flexibility, and prioritizing the other parent’s well-being are crucial for successful co-parenting. Consistent schedules with designated days for each parent are more effective than strictly equal hours. This allows both parents to plan their lives while maintaining regular contact with their children. 

In conclusion

In this episode of the podcast, Wendy discusses the concept of a “good divorce” and challenges the negative reputation often associated with separation. By sharing her own experiences and insights from professionals in the field, Wendy encourages listeners to consider alternative narratives and approaches to divorce that prioritize positive outcomes for all parties involved.

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