Divorce can be Different
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Most people contemplating divorce give consideration to the effects of the process itself…for about 30 seconds. Their near unanimous conclusion is that conflict, strife, financial drain, stress, anger, bitterness and resentment are simply inevitable. And perhaps they are.
But perhaps not. Perhaps, instead, this is simply a choice made without a clear understanding of what is possible moving through divorce and building a new life. Perhaps divorce is, instead, a time for transition and defining one’s best self moving forward, building better relationships with those in one’s life. A time to allow one’s words and actions to reveal the best of one’s mind and spirit, communicate with confidence and listen with respect, and move forward with compassion, forgiveness and acceptance.
Sound impossible? Perhaps. With that in mind, let’s play the “what if” game. What if a healthy divorce was possible? What would it look like? What pieces would one put in place in order to achieve that result? Where would someone start? Outlined below are five foundations of a healthy divorce.
A “Health Care” Team
Divorce is not easy, and having the right professionals offering guidance and support can smooth out bumps in the road. These professionals include: divorce coach, therapist, child specialist, attorney, mental health professional and/or financial professional. Each one of those resources provides separate and distinct advice and support throughout the process, so long as they advocate healthy behaviors and actions. These professionals can help clients move from the story of divorce to the business of divorce.
Best Self and Self-Awareness
Transitioning through divorce in a healthy way requires being one’s best self – in a place of well-being. at one’s best, being the best parent/client/friend etc. In addition, this requires awareness of self, recognizing the presence of “red flags” and “hot buttons” that diminish one’s best self. Showing up as one’s best opens the possibility of divorce with dignity and leaving a legacy of being one’s best when times were worst.
Get in the “Know”
A client must understand the particular divorce process they chose, and set realistic expectations of the workings, pace, decision points and possible outcomes of the process. Identifying one’s true interests and goals and understanding the difference between those and positions, or entitlements, is likewise crucial. Also, awareness of how the communication dynamic between partners can sabotage the process and avoiding those “traps” is key. Knowledge empowers one to be a credible client and thinking partner to attorneys and other professionals in the process.
Self Care and Responsibility
Divorce is stressful. Navigating the process in a healthy way is challenging but NOT impossible. Consequently, taking care of one’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being is fundamental to a healthy divorce. And, being accountable and responsible for one’s words, actions and choices during the process directly affects the outcome. Acknowledging when one has behaved contrary to one’s highest values builds trust and respect from all of those around us.
Eye on the Future
One’s new life starts not after the divorce, but at the beginning. One’s choices during the divorce directly affect the prospects of one’s life afterward. Make use of every second. Start to build a new life upon a foundation of forgiveness, acceptance and courage when faced with fear, anger, and resentment. Fashion a legacy of a hero and a champion for those around you and those looking to you. Embody the change you seek. Measure your thoughts, words and actions today against how you wish to be remembered tomorrow.
Dismiss the inevitable and embrace the (not-so) impossible.
Kurt Chacon is a lawyer and divorce coach in north Dallas practicing collaborative divorce. He is a member of Denton County Collaborative Professionals, Collaborative Divorce Texas, and is a CDC Certified Divorce Coach.