The following blog was written by Bruce Peck, a Collaborative Attorney.
Bruce can be reached at (952) 435-6799 and www.brucepecklaw.com.
Some injuries heal as effortlessly as skinned knees on children. Other injuries take longer, and leave scars. Some injuries are so severe they take years, decades or lifetimes to heal, if at all. These are the kind of injuries that happen all too frequently in the realm of divorce.
One of the most difficult things to do is to learn how to stop loving someone because they have stopped loving you. Sometimes the best dreams are followed by the worst nightmares. When truth and trust are both violated, the betrayal that can follow is among the most difficult things to heal.
While healing is not accomplished by everyone, the possibility of healing is available to everyone. Divorce is a seriously complicated circumstance, because in addition to the loss of the marriage the parties also have to work together, or against each other, to reach a final settlement. When hearts are broken, this can be extraordinarily painful. Falling in love can be awfully simple, but getting divorced is simply awful.
If only there was a process that could insulate parties from the damaging experience of a contested divorce. If only children could be protected from the resulting carnage that flows over their parents. If only there was a better chance to heal while going through the divorce process.
Well, there is. It is called collaborative divorce, and is promoted by the Collaborative Law Institute. Created here in Minnesota, now taught world-wide, this humane technology, honed over more than two decades through conscientious involvement by attorneys, mental health professionals and financial specialists, has become a highly refined process that supports parties to heal through this challenging time.
It starts with the commitment of the Collaborative Law Institute to be and become a healing modality by providing rigorous training to all professionals. The resulting process is a container that insulates parties from the conflict while supporting them to reach principled decisions that become their final decree of dissolution.
But it goes well beyond that. Collaborative practice now includes the opportunity for parties take a break before launching into the legal process to assess each party’s readiness to engage in this process. Mental health professionals have become trained in a new paradigm, generally referred to as discernment counseling, which allows parties to talk about where each one is at as they start this process, and consider the possibilities of working on healing their relationship. This process is commonly referred to as reconciliation, which means, literally, healing, not necessarily returning to the marriage.
However, when parties are able to heal their relationship they are better able to consider ways in which they might be able to recreate a better marriage. It makes no sense to simply return to a marriage fraught with problems.
The primary requirement for such a process to take place requires the commitment of both parties to genuinely exam and explore options before moving forward with the divorce. When parties are unwilling or unable to process through these issues at the end of their marriage, they are left with the prospect of healing by conducting their personal and private autopsy of their marriage, with or without the help of a qualified counselor. This can be quite difficult to accomplish. It requires ethical integrity by each partner to commit to such an undertaking.
The collaborative process cannot heal the parties, but it can provide the process by which that possibility might take place. That is no small accomplishment under these circumstances.
Sometimes parties that heal their relationship might still decide to move forward with their divorce. When this happens, they are each in a powerful place to facilitate gathering the necessary information and reaching agreements to resolve all the issues. The stress upon each party is significantly reduced and the benefit to children is immeasurable. Usually the overall costs and expenses are reduced due to the ability of the parties to do the work necessary to reach conclusion.
It has been said that the Chinese character for crisis is two characters that mean dangerous opportunity. In our western society we are not taught instinctively to look for opportunity, but we know all too well what the dangers are. When we live only in fear we are not very adept at healing.
To learn more about this process, and to find professionals trained to provide these services visit us at www.collaborativelaw.org.
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