Traditional thinking about divorce in America used to be of the all-or-nothing kind:
– either you are married (in which case you are expected to cooperate with each other),
– or you’re divorced (in which case you’re supposed to be so at odds with each other that you can’t possibly cooperate, even on something that is as important to both of you as raising your children).
In contrast, the “responsible divorce” is about balance and sustainability. You recognize that there are conflicting needs, and you do your best to balance them:
– Quite obviously, there is a need for separation; divorced people cannot continue to act as a married couple; you need to rebuild your lives as separate individuals.
– On the other hand, both of you have some common goals. At the very least, these common goals include making the divorce more gentle on yourselves, keeping your own dignity, saving the money that could easily be wasted in a high-conflict divorce…
When there are children involved, there is even more of a common goal: continuing to parent your children. You divorce each other and lead separate lives, but you remain parents of the same children. It works best for the children when the parents find a way to cooperate with each other, starting with the divorce process itself.