May 16, 2013

Taking A “Breather” During Divorce

BreatheAlthough I have been practicing yoga and meditation for over a decade, I still have to be reminded to “come back to my breath.”  Some of my first practices of mindfulness involved simply noticing my breath.  This ancient practice of purposeful breathing is now being validated by modern science. “[D]eep breathing is not only relaxing, it’s scientifically proven to affect the heart, the brain, digestion, the immune system …”   It is said that the breath is the built-in stress reliever.

Much like coming back to your breath, the Collaborative Practice, also has a built in stress-reliever.  Divorce is one of the most stressful events a couple can tolerate, next to death of a spouse.  Even when working collaboratively, couples face significant stress as they reframe their relationship and transform their family.  However, just like the body, the collaborative divorce process allows clients the opportunity to breathe.

The collaborative team is trained to pay attention to when clients may be experiencing “emotional flooding” and how the brain works under stress.  We understand that when clients are highly emotional, sound decisions cannot be made because the rational decision-making part of our brains is inaccessible. If this occurs in a joint meeting, it may mean taking a break to calm emotions and recalibrate the brain or ending the meeting early and rescheduling for another time after the client has processed his or her emotions. Sometimes it may even mean taking a break from the divorce process all together – there’s space for that too.

Just like breathing is essential to the vitality of your mind and body, “taking a breather” during the collaborative process is essential to the vitality of your divorce.  Taking breaks from meetings or even the divorce process allows clients to honor the many emotions they experience in divorce but not allow the emotions to drive their decision-making.  In the end, it results in a “healthier” divorce.

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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