The darkness of winter has long been a time for people from all cultures to pause and reflect upon their life. It is a good to cultivate a practice to set aside a specific time to look back over the old year and make note of the significant things that have occurred. It is also an excellent time to look ahead to the New Year and consider what it may bring.
There is always a significant group of people who are grappling with the sober and somber possibility that their marriage is on the brink. I have found it interesting that there is no clear assumption to make when people choose to address the prospect that their marriage is in trouble. My usual observation has been that this difficult prospect is less likely to be raised during the holidays, because there are so many things going on and activities to be addressed that it is impractical to raise such a foreboding possibility at this time. However, after struggling to get through yet another difficult holiday together, the new year is a more likely time to conclude that something must be done.
While this scenario is often what happens, I have had several times where parties actually chose to start looking at these difficult issues right before the holidays rather than putting things off. Usually this might occur with someone who has been struggling with the prospect for some time and may have reached a mutual agreement that it is inevitable. Not the usual circumstance, but not unheard of either.
Whenever the decision is made the most critical consideration is the ability of both parties to be engaged in the discussion, rather than it occur as something that is happening to one of them at the behest of the other. The most common reality is that one party reaches this realization before the other. It becomes easiest for the party pointing out of the marriage to simply announce it to the other party, who is left to deal with the fall out on their own.
More mature people recognize the significance of such an action and do the more difficult thing – share their concern with their partner and look for a way to position some professional resources between them to help them move through this most difficult time. Mature people know intuitively that they made the choice to marry together, and the conversation about the end of their marriage should be made together as well.
Fortunately there is now a process that can provide counseling and support to both partners in moving through this most difficult time. Collaborative Family Law was created to provide an alternative for parties looking at divorce to participate in a process that provides safety and support. This special process has grown and evolved into a full range of options.
A critical threshold consideration has been created and identified as discernment counseling. This varies from traditional counseling because it provides an opportunity for parties on the brink to slow down and have some critical conversations. For most people, there is merit to intentionally consider what has brought them to the brink, and what options might exist for them. It is a chance to have each spouse share their concerns with the other before taking action. The empowerment to both of them in doing this is immeasurable.
Options can be explained for parties to take some positive steps to heal their relationship. Reconciliation is sometimes thought to mean simply going back into the marriage. This is not true. Reconciliation is an opportunity to heal, first and foremost. Couples who are able to heal their relationship can then choose to either commit to work on their marriage for some agreed upon time before deciding what to do next. Parties who can make peace with each other are far more likely to consider staying in their marriage.
Some parties who heal may then choose to end their marriage. However, they are much more likely to be able to move through the divorce process cooperatively, and reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial to each of them.
If you would like more information about how this can be done, contact any Collaborative Family Law specialist.Tagged with: Collaborative Family Law • divorce options • divorce with dignity • healthy divorce