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Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

Emotional Health Inside Collaborative Divorce

No matter the reason you’ve made this decision, you and your spouse are choosing to end your marriage. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve been married one year or 20 if you have children or don’t; it’s still going to be a hard emotional journey for the next few months or years as you adjust to your new status of “divorced.”

What if there were a better way to make this transition?

The Difference with Collaborative Divorce

You’re definitely going to experience myriad emotions when you divorce, but there’s no rule saying those emotions have to be overwhelmingly negative. In fact, some couples enter into divorce amicably; their only concerns are about how to split assets and co-parent effectively.

Even if you and your spouse have gone through some of the more serious issues that come up in marriage, such as cheating and dishonesty, collaborative divorce can provide options for how to rebuild your communication skills so you can heal enough to move into this next stage. This happens because of the structure of a collaborative divorce, which includes not only the attorneys but also a mental health counselor, and sometimes an additional communication coach. The team fits the needs of the family.

“One of the best benefits of going through the collaborative divorce process was receiving support. I’d had other friends divorce, and they were mostly bitter and resentful. I understand that not everyone wins in a divorce situation, but the process we experienced allowed my family and me to feel much better about the whole idea of divorce.” —John, age 50, father of three

When each member of the family is provided access to emotional support throughout the transition, they will flourish. They learn how to manage the feelings they have and work through the negatives while focusing on the positives.

Maintaining Emotional Health

What is emotional health? It’s all about being happy, which means that you are self-aware, self-confident, and emotionally resilient. If you are in good emotional health, you are able to maneuver life’s challenges and bounce back quicker.

Obviously, even if someone is emotionally healthy, a big stressor such as divorce can strike a sharp blow.

“I was devastated about going through a divorce. Shari and I married in our early 20s, and I thought we’d be together forever. Her affair and desire to split completely caught me off guard. After all, we’d been so happy—hadn’t we? Even for a very emotionally stable person such as myself, I was taken down when she told me she wanted to end our marriage.” —Keith, age 33, father of one.

Emotional health is something that we, as parents, strive to develop and nurture in our children. We tell them we love them, and we support them through all of the stages of their emotional development. Perhaps one of the components parents love best about collaborative divorce is that it involves the children and supports them.

“I was really scared when my parents told me they were getting divorced. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn’t even know where I would be living. My friend Michelle’s parents divorced and she never sees her dad. Was that going to happen to me too?” —Stephanie, age 11

Professional Support, Positive Results

With the team involved in a collaborative divorce, the outcome is often drastically different from a litigation approach. Pressing emotions occur no matter how a separation moves forward when support is unavailable the challenges will mount. However, in the safe environment of collaboration, your family will have the space they need to share and heal.

If you are considering a divorce, you can help your family through the transition by choosing a collaborative approach. Your team will include legal, fiscal, and mental health support that can make a huge difference to your family, both now and into the future.

Contact Ogborne Law to learn more about how your family can maintain emotional health inside collaborative divorce.