Starting a divorce can be difficult, particularly if your spouse believes the marriage can be saved. How you have this discussion may make a major difference in your life, particularly if you have children. In my thirty years of working with divorcing clients, I have found that avoiding mistakes at the very beginning of the process is crucial to the future of your family.
The most common mistake is moving ahead without being fully prepared. Here is a quick guide to the type of preparation that I believe will make the most difference.
- Make sure you clearly explore your reconciliation options. Before you start down the path toward divorce, make sure that you are doing the right thing. This is important for you, and your children and will help your spouse become more accepting of the divorce if that is what ultimately needs to happen. There are many new ways to explore the divorce decision, including discernment counseling which is designed to help you determine whether your marriage can be saved. To learn more, go to the Doherty Relationship Institute website
- Make sure you understand the various options for how to divorce. There are many different ways to move ahead with divorce, including Collaborative Divorce and meditation. There are many good professionals who will explain all of the options, without charge. To learn more, go to www.collaboratiavelaw.org. or www.divorcechoice.com.
- Once you have chosen a method of moving forward, carefully plan the way of telling your spouse about the divorce. If there is any danger of abuse, make sure you consult with experienced professionals to make sure that you are aware of the safest possible method. If there is no danger of physical abuse, but have significant concerns about possible verbal abuse, make sure that you are in a public place so that you can leave if things get uncomfortable. If possible, consider having a counselor, clergy member or mutually trusted friend or family member present during this important discussion.
- Focus on the “Big Picture” and your long term goals. Sometimes divorce can create a “crisis mentality” that can cause people to lose perspective on what really matters. Focusing only on the issues that feel urgent can displace the need to focus on what is truly important such as the well-being of your children or your general health.
Tagged with: Collaborative Divorce • communication • conflict resolution • divorce choices • separation