Collaborative Practice is designed for various participants including...

Couples Who Want to Move Forward

Did you ever meet or know someone whose divorce took place many years ago, but the emotions are so raw that it feels as if it took place last month, if not last week?

In divorce, it is so easy and so human to construct a narrative of battle in which each side wants to win and the other to lose. It is indeed difficult to hold sadness without blame, and grief without vengeance. Unfortunately, emotional energy and economic resources can be depleted in this kind of battle, and at the end of the day, a spouse who does not feel understood by the other is unlikely to even hear, never mind consider, the other’s proposals for settlement.

For many people, the experience of separation – despite our knowledge of the frequency of divorce – is a pain like no other, and it is natural to react defensively, especially if one feels vulnerable or attacked. In traditional adversarial divorce, these emotions can fuel escalations, and people have often found that they need years to recover, not just from the ending of an important relationship, but from the divorce process itself.

Divorce does not have to involve intense hostility and stress. The coaching relationship in Collaborative Divorce helps each spouse understand his or her unique vulnerability to the kind of blaming and reactive cycle that can derail a negotiated settlement. Collaborative coaches help each client develop skills to manage his or her emotions. Spouses are encouraged to resist the temptation to demonize the other, and to create the necessary environment to resolve conflict collaboratively. This is no longer about winners and losers in the divorce wars; rather, it is a paradigm shift in which the professionals work together to help clients speak and listen to each other with respect, and reach agreements that leave everyone as whole as possible.