August 30, 2013

Tissues on the Table: Emotions in Divorce

Categories: DivorceMental Health

TissuesIn a collaborative divorce process – there are usually tissues on the table. When a client first comes into an attorney’s office to tell their story or learn about divorce, it can be emotional and scary. Some people cry. Some of those tears come from sadness, fear, or worry about the future.

Some people feel guilt or are mourning the loss of a relationship. Whatever the emotions are, in collaborative divorce, it is alright to express them. Indeed, expression of emotion can be key to the process – help clients process the transition and be more honest in the negotiations.

Sometimes, clients cry quietly and silently in the process. The team may keep the process moving or take time to acknowledge the emotion. Clients can always take a break or ask for a moment alone. Silence may be a useful way to acknowledge the emotion. At other times, emotions may run hot and anger can result in intensified behavior. The team may choose to discuss the emotions or use a coach (mental health professional) to help keep emotions productive in the meetings. Clients may cry during joint meetings or when meeting with other professionals. Some clients cry while a lot others hardly cry.

In a recent joint meeting, two clients were sharing each of their desires to spend Christmas morning with the children. The attorneys asked each client to express their personal reasons in the meeting. In front of the attorneys and the other spouse, they each shared their thoughts on this subject. Wife cried during her turn – the emotions were pure and real. After a moment of silence, Husband’s attorney acknowledged her emotion, saying “I know that was hard and I thank you for sharing your thoughts.” Husband expressed empathy as well. When he spoke, he acknowledged her by saying “It’s hard for me to share my thoughts now because I know how important this is to you.”

Emotion is real and the collaborative process allows for its expression. Indeed, there will always be tissues on the table.

Kimberly MillerABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberly Miller
Attorney, KM Family Law, LLC

Kimberly Miller, JD, MA, LAMFT is known for her ability to resolve challenging family issues without resorting to aggressive legal strategies that are damaging to vital family relationships. After years of litigating business and family disputes at a prominent national firm, she recognized the devastating psychological and financial impact that litigation can have on individuals, couples, and other loved ones. She decided to establish her own practice to promote alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as collaborative law and mediation, to reach consensus. Learn more at www.KMFamilyLaw.com

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One Response to Tissues on the Table: Emotions in Divorce

  1. Pingback: Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota > Tissues on the Table: Emotions in Divorce | ABC Collaborative Divorce Blog

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