The #1 roadblock to getting a divorce settled are the emotions surrounding this life transition.
A divorce is a major life transition, but unlike happy transitions – such as going off to college, getting married, or having a baby – a divorce is often an unhappy transition. Along with the logistics of this life transition, there is also a lot of emotional upheaval and fear surrounding questions that will need to be answered during the divorce process, such as:
- What will the future look like?
- What will the finances look like?
- How much parenting time will there be with the children?
- Where will everyone live now?
- What changes to daily life are going to have to be made?
Sometimes, as a couple gets close to the end of the divorce, one or both spouses may disappear for a little while because being faced with signing the final divorce documents means the marriage is really going to be over, and there is a push and pull of emotions between wanting to hold onto something and wanting the divorce to be finished. At this point, emotions can take over, making the parenting decisions, financial decisions, and property division decisions difficult.
Dealing with Emotional Roadblocks in the Collaborative Divorce Process
In a Collaborative Divorce, the mental health professionals that are part of the collaborative team are great for helping to get past these emotional roadblocks. The mental health professionals in a Collaborative Divorce, called Divorce Coaches or Communication Coaches, allow the couple to individually work with a coach on maintaining their emotions, understanding the changes that are happening, and helping them to listen to each other and communicate better. Civility can go out the window during the emotional crisis of a divorce when people become angry or fearful and do not always listen to each other. None of that is helpful when trying to reach a divorce agreement.
The Divorce Coaches/Communication Coaches are in tune with the emotions of the clients and are able to make a different connection with the clients than the rest of the Collaborative Divorce team. During a Collaborative meeting, the Coach may see that one of the clients is getting anxious and will call for a break, and the Coach may also work out a secret code or way to communicate with the client to indicate a break is needed without having to say anything.
Mental health professionals play a really important role in managing emotional roadblocks and focusing on the ultimate goals of the divorce for the future of the family. When the emotional issues are addressed, settling the divorce becomes easier for both sides.