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SW: Feature Report Channel
Reported February 15, 2012

1 Home, 2 Families - Re-inventing Divorce

MIAMI (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Of all the children born to married couples this year, fifty percent will see their parents split before their 18th birthday. One study found that for kids, divorce is actually more psychologically disruptive, than a parent's death. While there may be no such thing as a "good divorce" one woman shows us how making the best of a broken marriage, turned into a blessing for her child.

Randi and her son Steven have always been close. So when she ended her 11 year marriage to his father, she vowed to make it an easy transition.

"I never wanted my son to be in the middle of a terrible divorce," Randi Agri told Ivanhoe.

A year after her divorce, she remarried and moved into a new home.

But four years later she divorced, again.

"I said 'I don't know what I’m gonna do and how I’m gonna afford this house' and he was like well I’ll help you," Agri added.

He, Steven's father, offered to help pay rent. So six years after their split, her ex moved in. But he didn’t come alone.

"I tell my friends about the fact that my parents are divorced ‘oh but his girlfriend came to live with us too, and their child, and then had a second child’ I always reference family circus cartoon," Steven Goldberg-Pannone, Randi’s son, told Ivanhoe.

"I had to do what I had to do I’ve always been a survivor," Agri explained.

 That meant compromise. He’s a neat freak so when I’m working he cleans the house and I said listen, you'll have a built in baby sitter!

Licensed psychotherapist Alessanna Fordin says while there are no winners in divorce, there are ways to limit your losses.

"If you can have a divorce where the parties are amicable you’re so far ahead of the game," Alessana Fordin, Licensed psychotherapist at Lotus Counseling Center in Miami told Ivanhoe.

Her first tip? Set boundaries. Know what you will and won’t discuss in front of the kids and when things get heated --walk away.

"You can’t get stuck in the petty stuff and you can’t get stuck in wanting to be right if you get stuck on wanting to be right about something then you have already lost," Fordin explained.

Next, keep it real.

"Parents just need to understand that children know," Goldberg-Pannone added.

Don’t pretend or mask your feelings, but don’t share it all. Sharing everything can put undue pressure on kids. Finally, never make them choose!

"I’m the therapist seeing the adultsm who, as children, suffered from divorce. Somehow felt they had to choose. Randi’s a really great example, she found a way. She's very, very positive and I think she found a way to find the good stuff," Fordin explained.

For that, Steven is grateful.

"It’s kind of awful sometimes the way the youth of America today is brought up on this notion that divorce has to be messy," Goldberg-Pannone said.

"He’s really a good person and I mean now looking back over the years now we're the best of friends," Agri concluded.

Two friends, two families, one home.

Alessana says even if there are no children involved, separated couples can apply these tips to their relationships with friends and relatives.

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