In my experience, probably the single most important predictor of how happy a client will be after divorce is how well they get along with their ex. If they can’t communicate well, then every conversation makes both of them miserable. If they communicate well, then these conversations are at worst neutral, and at best strengthen the co-parenting relationship.
So, I advise clients to do whatever they can to communicate effectively after their divorce.
Fortunately, there are many great professionals that can help after the divorce. Dr. Katrina Kuzyszyn-Jones is one of them, and she holds workshops throughout the year. You still have time to catch the November and December sessions! Find out more at http://kkjpsych.com/.
Ever wonder how Collaborative Divorce feels different than going to court? This news story and interview with a South Carolina couple should give you a pretty good idea. Real people going through real divorces have used the process and come out on the other end to have great lives.
Technology is great. Information sharing and syncing across your devices is great. But, more than one problem has arisen when kids, spouses or ex-spouses see texts, emails or photos that were not intended for them due to technology.
Sometimes, this happens when kids have physical access to a parent’s device. That is easy enough to prevent. What is trickier is when the kids have their own device (iPad, iPhone, iTouch) that is synced to the parents iCloud or Apple ID. In that case, texts, messages, photos and other things that are intended for the parent can show up on the kid’s device.
In order to avoid that problem in your life, here’s an article that helps explain how to avoid your private messages ending up in front of other people: http://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2015/02/ipad-tip-turn-off-messages.html.
When it comes to this problem, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This Tedx video by David Hoffman explains why I do what I do at least as well or better than I can. It is powerful for me and hopefully for others. And, I think it explains the intellectual, professional and emotional journey for those layers who have chosen to be peace makers. Enjoy.
What does it mean to be tough? In divorce, most people (including many lawyers) believe that it means “sticking to your guns”, never compromising, issuing the bigger threats, puffing more, “big talk”, using intimidation. In the name of toughness, people are frequently encouraged to be uncaring, to deny any empathy for their spouse, and to turn off all humane or positive feelings about their marriage and their spouse.
That’s one way to do it.
At least in North Carolina, alimony (including post-separation support (PSS)) is one of the least predictable outcomes in family law. There are 15 factors listed in the alimony statute that must be considered, plus a catch all factor. Once those factors have been considered, a family court judge must make an award (or not) that she finds to be “equitable”. “Equitable” is legalese for “fair”.
In family law cases, money is an issue. Whether a couple is wealthy or struggling, very few divorcing couples feel that there is plenty to go around when negotiating their divorce solution. There is almost always a sense of scarcity. Sometimes that feeling of scarcity is supported by the numbers, but sometimes it is a reflexive fear reaction.
That sense of scarcity and anxiety leads people to try to get as much money as they can, and therefore, not share any more than necessary. That leads to zero sum thinking and shuts down thinking about solutions that lie outside of money, or have nothing to do with money.
In my experience, many people in divorce cases are looking to meet at least some needs that cannot be met by money.
One situation that comes up with some regularity for a divorce attorney is when a client puts an offer on a house before their divorce issues are resolved. These clients unwittingly place themselves in a very difficult position.
One of the most value added benefits of collaborative divorce is the use of divorce coaches.
But, it is also the least understood of the professional roles in the Collaborative Divorce process. Clients typically see the value that the financial neutral and child specialist bring to their process. But, folks seem to have a harder time seeing the benefits of a divorce coach before we begin the process.
Divorce coaches are licensed therapists that work with each spouse in a collaborative divorce to help them move through the process as focused, and therefore efficiently, as possible.
There are many significant benefits of having divorce coaches in your case:
1. They save you money. This part is not intuitive. Many clients initially react to the idea of a divorce coach by seeing only an additional expense; one more person they have to pay to be divorced. But, the reality is that divorce coaches save clients money. How? First, many of the hours that clients pay me for are spent discussing non-legal issues that would be more effectively addressed by a divorce coach. And, a divorce coach charges about half of the hourly rate of an experienced collaborative divorce attorney. So, by using the divorce coach as the right tool for the right issues, clients can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars during their process. And, while spending less money, they also get help from human emotion and behavior experts (instead of lawyers) for the non-legal aspects of their divorce.
2. They are the right tool for non-legal and non-financial issues. Every divorce has three components: Legal, financial and emotional. Lawyers are best at handling the legal issues. Financial neutrals are best at handling the financial issues. Divorce coaches are best at helping people shape their emotions, communication and interactions with their spouses and children through the divorce process. You wouldn’t ask a therapist for legal advice; why ask a lawyer for coaching?
3. They know the Collaborative Process. Unlike your therapist, your friends or your family, a collaborative divorce coach is highly trained in the Collaborative Process. They know how it works, what you will experience, and where the tough spots will be. They understand how and why collaborative divorce is different than an adversarial process, and how those differences work for you. Unlike your therapist, they will be privy to information from the other professionals in the process, including your spouse’s coach and your child specialist. Unlike your therapist, they can assimilate information from you, lawyers, financial neutrals, and child specialists to help you through your specific collaborative divorce. Unlike your therapist, they are not there to do therapy! They are there to help you recognize and address roadblocks to expressing yourself effectively and reaching a resolution.
4. They speed things up. In a divorce negotiation, an indelicate word or tense conversation can create emotional distractions that take days or weeks to dissolve. A coach helps you process that anger, frustration, or hurt so you can re-focus and move on with the resolution process. A conversation with a skilled collaborative divorce coach can be worth weeks or months of time; time you could be devoting to building the next stage of your life, attending to your kids’ adjustment or fostering your new relationship.
There are many more benefits to having someone in your corner that is trained to understand the emotional ride of divorce and apply that knowledge to help you through the Collaborative Process.
It is impossible to know exactly how you will benefit from a divorce coach in your specific divorce ahead of time. But, its is a rare case that is not more efficient, effective and focused with divorce coaches.