October 7, 2015

So, Your Spouse Wants a Divorce

468467678-desperate-man-gettyimagesYour spouse has just told you they want a divorce. This may cause a number of different kinds of responses from you. You might be well prepared emotionally, as this issue has been raised a number of times already. You might be ready for it yourself, and eager to move forward. Or not.

There are about as many different ways to respond to this scenario as there are married couples alive today. For most people, the first time your spouse delivers this message is the first time you have heard it, and you may be completely caught off guard.

You might be able to talk rationally with your spouse to learn more about what is going on from their perspective. For most of us, hearing this message when we are not ready to hear it is traumatizing. That little box inside our brain that contains all of the possible scenarios for this situation may explode like a Mexican piñata struck like a fast ball by Mike Trout.

You will learn an interesting phenomenon, if you haven’t already experienced it, that every possible response will occur like a hornet nest that has just been smashed open. The options will not be catalogued like a library report, but will jump from one thing to another like a teenager texting his girlfriend. It is not too likely that anything you will say in this moment will have a positive impact on your spouse. If you are smart, and if you are able, you might call a time out and remove yourself from the scene of action. You might try talking to the man in the mirror.

The poet, Ric Masten said it well –

I was talking to the man in the mirror
But the glass man could only move his lips
With mine, and tell me nothing
I didn’t already know.
So I came to you.

I chose you above all the rest
Because I knew you would say,
“One can only help oneself.”

And that is exactly the kind of
Smartass remark I will not take
Off a mirror.

So, you might look for someone who will tell you the kind of smartass remark you will not take off a mirror. Not some drinking buddy, who will help you lob emotional hand grenades at the absent spouse. Not some girlfriend who will unload their bag of resentments on your absent spouse. No, you need – Collaborate Mentor Person! Ta-dah!

Seriously folks, you really do need someone who can start talking about your options for addressing this in a serious, mature and rational manner. If you have a counselor, they can help you deal with this in a mature way, but will probably not be aware of all of the legal options you may have available.

For one thing, a Collaborative Mentor Person might be able to tell you about a marvelous resource they have available – an opportunity to make a request of your spouse that they join you in Discernment Counseling. This option can connect you with a new type of therapist who can create an opportunity for both parties to slow down enough to have a mentored conversation with both of you to help you discern the current state of your union, and discuss some options you can do before propelling yourself before a kind of kindhearted (not really) family court judge to start disposing of your marriage.

This process can accomplish some very important pieces. It can help the person who feels like they are being jettisoned out of the marriage have a principled conversation with their spouse to understand where they are at and what they would like to see happen. It can provide you with the opportunity to ask some critical questions of your spouse, not in the heat of combat, but after having an opportunity to think through how this feels to you.

Discernment counseling is neither marriage counseling nor divorce counseling. It is a clear headed dialogue between the marriage partners to hear each other’s concerns, make reasonable requests, and prepare for whatever options present themselves.

Fat chance very many of your friends could provide that service.

To find out more about this possibility, contact your nearest collaborative divorce professional.

Bruce Peck

Bruce is one of the founding members of the Collaborative Law Institute.
Back in the Wonder Years, this small group was trying to figure out what a new way of practicing family law might look like. Today the collaborative law concept has exploded, not just throughout the United States, but also internationally. For over thirty years Bruce has continued to hone his skills to provide the highest quality of services to family law clients. He helps good people make tough choices during difficult times.

Bruce is a laid back and easy going person who listens well to others. He is a shameless optimist who can always see possibility and opportunity. Being very curious by nature, he is a voracious reader. His love for words has drawn him into being an avid poet.

Bruce’s skills supports clients interests without alienating their spouse. When the parties reach agreement, it is not under duress. They have the time to discuss all decisions with their attorneys before signing the agreement. Once completed, the stipulated divorce is filed with the court for a default hearing in which neither party, nor their attorneys, ever have to set foot inside a courthouse. Learn more at www.BrucePeckLawOffice.com

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