April 14, 2014

A Value Focused Divorce = Better Decision Making

A recent study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University concluded that use of self-affirmations or placing your focus on your core values can protect against the negative effects of stress.  Study subjects suffering from chronic stress solved 50% fewer test problems than those under less stress. But when the stressed-out subjects completed “self-affirmation activities,” such as writing about healthy personal relationships or other matters that were important to them, they performed just as well as their less stressed counter-parts – perhaps because they felt calmer and more confident says the study co-author Janine Dutcher. “Before a test, annual performance review or first date, remembering your personal values can help you focus and succeed.”

Researcher David Creswell indicated “people under high stress can foster better problem-solving simply by taking a moment beforehand to think about something that is important to them.” “It’s an easy-to-use and portable strategy you can roll out before you enter that high pressure performance situation.”

Divorce is ranked the 2nd most stressful event in a person’s life, according to the “Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale,” a test conducted in the 1960s to determine the long-term health consequences of chronic stress.  Yet, during one of the most stressful times in a couple’s life, they are called upon to make some of their most important decisions – impacting their children, finances and real estate.

In a Collaborative Divorce, one of the hallmarks of the process is to ask couples to begin their divorce creating individual goals for themselves and collective goals for the divorce process that reflect their core values.  This important first step is intended to “ground” or “anchor” couples for the inevitable stress associated with their significant life transition. This simple strategy not only helps to combat divorce stress, but also enables couples to be better problem-solvers and work creatively to make sound and enduring settlement decisions.  The focus on core values not only anchors the brain in a more productive, calmer state, but also allows the couple to withstand the storm of emotions, which can often feel unmanageable during divorce.  A value driven divorce process ultimately results in better decision-making and hopefully a better outcome.

Elizabeth I. WrobelABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Wrobel

Elizabeth Wrobel, JD is a partner with Wrobel & Smith, PLLP. She practices in the areas of collaborative family law and health insurance disputes. Although Elizabeth’s legal roots are in government practice, she now enjoys working directly with real people and their real-life challenges. Elizabeth’s passion for helping families is met in her collaborative law practice where she can use creative problem solving to assist families through the challenges of transition. Elizabeth understands that conflict can be expected, but how the professionals respond and guide a couple through divorce is critical in minimizing the harm.

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