Divorce

Anger and Confusion. . .

It's mind-boggling: About half the couples who get married in this country will also split up. Divorce is an enormous problem in America, for the people getting divorced, for their friends and families, and especially for their children.

CBS News 48 Hours takes a look at Divorce, American-Style. You'll meet divorced couples who are trying to stay close for the sake of their children; couples who can hardly stand to be in the same room with each other; mediators who try to keep a painful separation from costing more than it should, both emotionally and legally; divorce experts who tell you how to deal with an angry or annoying ex-spouse; and, most heartbreaking of all, the children of divorced couples, who through no fault of their own, must find a way to grow up in a ruptured family.

You'll meet a variety of people, all of them struggling with divorce in one way or another:

  • Chip August and Bess Greenfield: Married for ten years, this California couple ran into problems when they had trouble having kids. Although they ended up having a daughter, Gen, they divorced anyway. Ironically, Chip had for years been running workshops for those who wanted to work on their relationships. At one of these, he met. . .
  • Is it possible to have a "good" divorce? And how can you avoid getting divorced in the first place? We talked to Isolina Ricci an psychotherapist, and an expert handling divorce
  • Don and Leslie Levy, who were having problems too. Leslie and Chip started a relationship, which spelled the end of the Levys' 11-year marriage, which had been in trouble for years. Chip and Leslie -- and Niko, Leslie and Don's four-year-old son -- moved into Chip's apartment in the suburbs of San Francisco. Sometimes, Gen (Chip and Bess' daughter) also stays there. As if this all weren't confusing enough, Don followed Leslie to the West Coast, to be near his son. All four parents live within a mile of each other, and see each other regularly, in part because the two children are in the same first grade class. Confused yet? These four adults, and their children, sometimes are, as they try, very hard, to make this difficult arrangement work without too much tension.
  • Vira Goldman, A well-off corporate housewife who decides that when her husband reitres, it's time for her to retire too - from the marriage. She files for divorce, and then sues her husband for half of what he owns. Who wins?
  • Chip August divorced his wife Bess Greenfield after 10 years of marriage. While teaching a class on intimacy, he met his current partner, Leslie Levy. He is much happier with his decision to split up than his wife is. (CBS)

  • Natalie Sullivan, the 17-year-old chilof divorced parents, who 12 years after the split is still feeling the effects. Four years ago, she became anorexic, and although she has overcome that, she still feels bad about her fractured family. 48 Hours left a camera with her at home in San Diego, and asked her to talk about this tough issue. Watch as she opens up, and talks to her parents and siblings.
  • David and Hayley Johnson, A Tulsa couple in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. Their dispute looks like it's heading to court, which will be embarrassing and expensive for both of them. Can a mediator help them to come to an agreement? Watch as 48 Hours is there at the mediating session.

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produced by David Kohn