"In a world where we have more access to self-help through social media and with TikTok democratizing access to tips from therapists and specialists, people are able to access a whole new level of wisdom, advice and emotional coping skills to use in their divorce," says Davis. As a new generation of millennials replace Gen X and Boomers in the divorce courts, their desire to avoid the messy and ugly divorces that their parents went through shows up through their desire to use emotional intelligence, effective co-parenting strategies and mediated settlements—for example, a recent study of 1,000 participants found that 93 percent of divorcing parents tried alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, rather than the more traditional method of letting the court hand down details of a ruling. These clients are prioritizing the continual relationship with their former spouse, and the peace of the children over former generations' all-or-nothing strategies or deeply disproportionate division of property.
High-profile celeb parents are also jumping on the EQ-forward bandwagon. Take Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet, who filed for divorce this year, and were able to settle the matter in only one day, according to reports. Or consider Kevin Costner and Christine Baumgartner, whose split started off extremely contentious, but then turned to something warmer and better for their children, with the couple releasing a statement that they "have come to an amicable and mutually agreed-upon resolution of all issues." Finally, there’s Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa, who describe themselves as "best friends" as co-parents, even though they're no longer in love.
2. Pandemic Era Isolation is Yielding Polarization
The phenomenon of polarized opinions and debate flourished during the pandemic, so naturally, it's showing up in divorce court too. Davis says she's seeing "a growing number of high conflict divorces or divorces involving people with undiagnosed conditions such as narcissism or borderline personality disorders" that are a result of the negative effects of isolation on their mental health. "Hate crimes went up, road rage and murders went up, and we all had to watch as a mob of angry people stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop the counting of votes in the presidential election," she says. "Partisan divides widened, online comments began to become nastier and the world of divorce was impacted as well. These high-conflict cases involve spouses who are equally addicted to toxic communication with each other, and highly reactionary to anything proposed or suggested by the other side." Scorekeeping, retaliation and using the children as pawns are trademarks of a high-conflict divorce, she says, which isn’t being met kindly in court. “Courts and family law judges are not entertaining or tolerating this behavior in the courtrooms. When these high conflict cases present themselves to the court, the court is rewarding neither party and imposing a set of rules that takes into consideration that both parents and parties are problematic and equally wrong,” Davis says.