The Divorce Options Conversation

Feeling like Divorce is inevitable? You’re in the right place!

A Couple’s Story: Tyrone and Brianna*
(*names changed for client privacy)

Tyrone calls because Brianna wants out of the marriage. Now! She recently moved out.

After hearing a little bit of his and Brianna’s situation, I feel I can help them.

“May I gently ask you four scaling questions to get a sense of where you guys are at right now?

He says, “Yes.”

Continuing, I say, “On a scale of one to ten with ten meaning “absolutely,” “for sure,” “no doubt.”

How much do YOU want to be married to Brianna a year from now?

I explain it’s a moment-in-time question, and “I will not share with Brianna what you tell me.”

He says, “9.”

I continue, “How motivated would you say you are to committing to the difficult work of trying to save this marriage? I’m thinking of the emotional work, time, and financial commitment. On a scale of one to ten. What do you think?”

Tyrone quickly replies, “10.”

I shift gears a bit, “May I ask two more questions? If you were going to guess, and it’s just a guess, how would Brianna answer the first question about willingness to be married to you a year from now?”

“She’d say “5.”

I thank him and ask about her willingness to do the hard work. He says “4.” At that point, it feels like they may not need couples counseling right now, but I’m not discouraged.

In my heart, I feel they need a safe, helpful clarifying conversation.

Next, I offer Tyrone the Divorce Options Conversation – explaining it’s for couples on the brink of divorce.

Without shaming nor blaming either of you, I help couples experience a new, different or better conversation.

I take a non-judgmental, non-anxious approach to help couples talk about emotionally charged feelings and thoughts.

I do not take sides.

The Divorce Options Conversation is not counseling, per se.

Instead, it’s a series of four conversations I help couples experience in a safe and engaging manner. Our four discussions take about three to four hours.

The four conversations in one extended session is an outline that helps each of you become as clear as possible about your options.

Divorce Options Conversations help partners reach their own decision about Their Three Options:

Status Quo – Do Nothing. Hope for The Best. Maybe It Will Get Better.

Separation that may ultimately lead to divorce.

Make a six-month commitment to couples’ therapy, after which each partner makes their own decision whether they are experiencing enough new, different or better in this relationship to stay together… or divorce.

Here’s the Divorce Options Process Commitment

  1. Intake Phone Calls with Each Partner. Each partner schedules a 20-Minute, no fee, intake phone call with Bill Carpenter. If both agree to participate in the Divorce Options Conversation, we continue.
  2. One Three to Four Hour Session with Both of You. Here’s a summary:
    • 35-40-Minute time together
    • One 35-Minute Individual period with each of you
    • Final 10-Minutes together. Prepaid, Non-refundable Cost: $480

Follow up 90-Minute Sessions. No more than three total. Involved conversations with the couple and separately. Conversations weave in and out of The Three Options shared above. Cost: $187.50 per session.

If the couple decides to try and save the marriage, I can transition with them to Couples Therapy.

Or, I’ll refer them back to their counselor of choice. The session fee remains the same.

Tyrone shared this information with Brianna, and she called for her free 20-minute consult. After getting a sense of her complaints, I asked her the same four scaling questions I asked Tyrone.

Brianna responds by answering 6, 6, 9, and 10. It seems like Brianna may not be leaning out and into divorce as Tyrone thought – I say nothing about that to her.


Wanting to make sure I’m getting her, I share, “I’m glad you moved out.”

She’s understandably surprised. I heard her take a quick breath and gasp a little bit.

Going on I explain, “Moving out makes a loud-and-clear statement that Option 1 (Status Quo) IS NOT AN OPTION. Am I getting that right?”

Of course, she says, “Yes.”

“Brianna, are you sure separation and divorce are your best and only option?”

She explains that she’s been waffling about it. Her parents tell her she is making a mistake. Some friends are telling her to get rid of him, “There are more fish in the sea.”

“Wow. You’re really in a bind. Am I right? You’re torn between two opposing paths. Yes?”

That would be a terrible place to be. Brianna agrees and begins to weep softly.

I sit quietly with her on the phone then say, “I think I hear you weeping. Is that right?”

She says, “yes” to which I softly respond, “Your tears make sense. Anybody in your situation would weep.”

Brianna asks me questions about the Divorce Options Conversation.

We’re about 15 minutes into the call, and she agrees it makes sense to see if she can find more clarity about her Three Options.

Brianna said, “I do not want a permanent solution to what may be a temporary problem.”
I agree.

Tyrone and Brianna experienced their Divorce Options Conversation with me. It took about 3-and-a-half hours. They both become much clearer in their sense of Their Three Options.

I’ll let you decide what choice(s) they made.

What choice will the two of you make?

Divorce Options Conversation helps what may be your most important decision ever!

I do not know your situation.

My experience with divorcing couples tells me that one or both of you have experienced all the pain and suffering you can take.

I get that. It makes sense. The pain and the suffering are real. The frustration, disappointment, anger, withdrawal, or blaming is real.

And there can be hope.

It usually feels hopeless. You’ve tried everything you can think of and more than once.

The two of you have gone around and around until you have nothing left.

Empty. Frustrated. Savagely hurt.

Yes, of course, you are. Or you’re numb beyond words. I get that, too.

Devastated. Done. And you have choices.

It may not be too late to save your relationship.

Couples on the divorce super-highway are bombarded by their self-talk and the opinions of family and friends.

The divorcing couple is hurting. Hurting people often tell their complaints to close others. They expect the person to agree that their problem is awful beyond words.

I can hear the family member say, “Yeah! You need to tell that so-and-so YOU’RE DONE!!!!”

Again, it makes sense. The situation is horrific. It must change. The circumstances are life-or-death!

But is it your only way?

A non-anxious presence means I am skilled at staying present in EMOTIONALLY CHARGED situations.

Painful emotions make sense in these cases. I know what to do to help slow those emotions down so you can have a real conversation.

I provide a safe place for couples to talk and share their own words with the most important in the world.

Much is at stake.

Most of all, in many ending relationships, future generations are at stake.

I believe you owe it to yourself and the generations who follow you to experience a Divorce Options Conversation.

Please call me for more information or to set up an appointment.

I specialize in helping highly distressed couples. I can help you get very, very clear about your feelings and thoughts.

Share your feelings and thoughts with your partner in the least threatening way as is possible in a heightened emotional time. Call me, Bill Carpenter, MS, LMFT, LPC at (501) 205-4570.