Divorce is among the top 5 most stressful life events, along with death of a loved one, major illness, job loss and moving. It is no surprise then that divorcing couples almost always struggle with handling their emotions during the divorce process. There may be a lot of anger involved over grievances one or both has with the other and it is normal to go through a process of grieving the loss of the marriage, even if the divorce is wanted.
We always ask a new client, or a potential new client, if they have an emotional support system. It is important to have a trusted friend, family support, as well as a therapist, counselor, or a support group. If they are in need of referrals for a therapist or a support group, we provide the client resources for therapists who are well-versed in managing emotions during the divorce process as well as providing coping skills and possibly communication coaching for those who will maintain a co-parenting relationship with the other person.
The Collaborative Process Helps to Manage Those Emotions
In the Collaborative Divorce process, we utilize mental health professionals who help the spouses understand that emotions are a reality of divorce. But the spouses also learn how to handle their emotions, so their decision-making is not clouded.
The collaborative process allows a client the space they need to tend to their emotions at that moment. They can always say, “I need a minute. Can I have a little time?”
Sometimes, the coach may teach breathing techniques that can help the client feel grounded. If we are in the midst of a negotiation discussion, hoping to solve an important issue, whether financial or parenting, taking a break may be warranted. It is important that emotions are not allowed to hijack the decision-making process.
A neutral mental health professional can recognize the emotional state or needs of both spouses. They can help ensure that the divorcing spouses are in the proper frame of mind to enter into settlement agreements that are in their best interests and will pass muster with the courts.
We are not therapists, but if we are having a settlement conference, and it is not a collaborative matter, we do tell the client in advance, “This might be difficult. This might be emotional. It is likely that it will be. But you have the option to take a break.”
We tell them all they need to do is say, “I need a minute.” We respect that, and there is no need to push through if the client is not comfortable or does not feel in the right frame of mind to be able to make a decision.
Being in emotional turmoil may cause a person to agree to something he or she would not normally agree to under more balanced circumstances. It is important that emotions do not influence these decisions.
For more information about how we can work with you in your divorce and to assure that decisions are made with the proper emotional support, contact us at Bruckner Hernandez Legal Solutions.