How To Stay Alive During Your Divorce Case
People involved in the divorce process often feel they are not in controll of what is happening to their family. Here are my thoughts on how to remain fully present and “alive” during your divorce and why it is critical that you do so.
What it means to be truely “alive” is an often debated subject in certain circles. Some discussions are academic and highly technical, and others more spiritual. However, there can be no doubt that by merely proceeding through life deliberatly and with clear intention will be of great benefit to us, especially during times of extreme emotional distress.
While we may drive expensive cars, use the best technology and be highly educated, for many of us our brains are simply not much help when we are confronted with an emotionally stressful situation. In times of stress, our brains often revert to an automatic “fight or flight” response. While this may be helpful in some life and death situations, our brains do not differentiate between a life and death event and a very stressful non life theatening event, such as a divorce.
When we are functioning in the emotional “fight or flight” state, we are not fully conscious, or “alive”. Our brains have been hijacked by an emotional response. This is an automatic response engrained in our brains from ancient times which often causes us to have a diminished capacity to resolve a non life threatening event. The decisions we make will tend to be impulsive and based on emotion. Worse yet, many divorce lawyers transfer upon themselves their client’s cause, also becoming fearful and acting out of the “fight or fight” response.
Most divorce lawyers are litigators who troll in an advesarial system that declares winners, losers, assigns fault, blame, responsibility and mets out punishment and rewards. It is a black and white process where decisions are made by a 3rd party (a Judge) or through a grueling mediation process where positions, threats and bribes are extended back and forth until the lawsuit is settled. The advesarial system is a process designed to create fear and uncertainty and, as a result, will cause big problems for people who desire to resovle their divorce in an intentional, conscious mammer.
In order to promote conscious and rational decision making in divorce, the first thing we must do is eliminate the main cause of fear: the advesarial litigtion process. Collaborative Law does this. The Collaborative Law process relies on a different dispute resolution process called interest based negotiation. Collaborative law forbids the lawyers from using the advesarial process, thus requiring them to model maturity, reason and analysis. The parties are free to leave the Collaborative process at any time and engage in litigation, but the must do so with new lawyers. While the litigators do not like the requirement that they must withdraw from a case if they fail to settle it out of court, their “concern” is overstated as the Collaborative Law process is very effective and resolves over 85% of all family law disputes.
The benefits to people invovled in the divorce process to be able to remain clear headed, conscious and “alive” are obvious: less wasted money to ligitators, a better opportunity to have a dignified and respectful future relationship with the other parent, kids who are relatively well adjusted, and a more deliberate and thoughtful division of financial assets.