Collaborative divorce is a way of solving disputes respectfully. However, given the reality of human nature, it may sometimes be difficult to maintain a cooperative atmosphere during meetings with your spouse and your respective attorneys. Here are some tips from collaborative experts that may help you as you move through the process of divorce.
Focus on solving the problem. During your marriage you and your spouse tackled problems together. Try to think of separation and divorce as one more problem you are trying to work out together. It may not be easy, but it will help you maintain a cooperative attitude.
Focus on constructive solutions. Recriminations and emotional outbursts will not help you reach your goals.
Focus on your goals and try to offer effective suggestions for reaching them.
Focus on creative solutions. Keep an open mind. Don’t become so focused on your ideas that you fail to consider other, possibly more workable, ideas. Be creative. There are many ways to reach a goal. You’ll find your collaborative team particularly helpful in suggesting creative solutions to your problems.
Focus on respecting each other. Sarcasm, criticism, inflammatory speech, angry outbursts — none of these will help you solve your problems or reach your goals. They will only serve to escalate emotions and make cooperation impossible. If your emotions start to spiral out of control, remove yourself from the meeting until you calm down. Collaborative attorneys and the collaborative team are specially trained to foster a cooperative atmosphere that is respectful to both parties. Your divorce coach can help you improve your communication and self-management skills so that you can communicate more effectively during meetings with your spouse.
Focus on speaking for yourself. “I” comments will be more effective during negotiations. You cannot speak for or know the feelings or motivations of your spouse. You can only honestly speak to your own feelings and needs. “You” statements too often are perceived as accusatory and generally lead to unproductive arguments and escalating feelings of hostility.
Focus on listening. Truly listen to what your spouse says. Try to understand what matters most to her and see things through her eyes. Mutual understanding is a necessary step to solving problems in a way that meets the needs of both parties.
Focus on the future. Dwelling on the past and allowing yourself to become mired in emotional pain and blame, while human, will prevent you from moving forward. Accept responsibility for your feelings, but don’t allow them to govern your actions.
Focus on reality. Recognize that separation and divorce are huge and perhaps frightening changes for you, your spouse and your children. Quite often one party is less prepared and less accepting of the reality of divorce and the ending of the marriage than the other. Try to respect the needs of your spouse and allow them time to adjust and make decisions.
If you and your spouse can work through the issues of your divorce together while maintaining an atmosphere of cooperation, you will both heal more quickly and be able to move forward with your separate lives. If you have children, divorce will be immensely less damaging if both parents are able to work together amicably.
Posted by Mike Mastracci – Divorce without Dishonor on Tuesday, October 02, 2007 in Collaborative Family Law | Permalink