Sheltering in place can lead to feeling pretty alone and isolated. That sense of being alone and separate can also happen during the divorce process, layering on to what is already an emotional process, and it can be a scary time.
Working with a Collaborative Divorce team, our clients get help prioritizing the most important things for them as they navigate the divorce process. We try to peel back the layers and look at what is most unsettling or most urgent to them. Then together, we make a plan to help deal with everything, to get the support they need and have expert resources they require. Using the Collaborative Process is not deciding for people. It’s helping people decide for themselves what’s best for their family going forward, and feel supported and informed in those decisions.
In many cases, we need to get to the underlying issues. Collaborative Divorce allows the parties to go through a divorce to be heard, and the support they feel in being listened to in a safe team setting can make a world of difference in the outcome. People often start talking about being stressed about the next step to take or what is bothering them. Once they talk things through with some guidance and support, they come to their own conclusions. Those decisions are then authentic to them and more meaningful. This process of everyone coming together and weighing options can lead to a more resilient outcome down the road. Right now, it can also diminish the sense of aloneness some are feeling. One of the advantages of a team is that Collaboration comes to conclusions through discussion and honoring different points of view, not becoming entrenched in a position. Feeling as though you’re either being told what to do or being left alone to work things out without support can lead people to feel bitter or invalidated.
In this time of social distancing, how do you keep the process moving? The simplest way seems to be Zoom video calls. There are several other interfaces, but we’re able to get a lot done by connecting through technology. If we can’t meet literally face to face, it doesn’t mean progress has to stop. It just means we need to be a little more innovative and flexible about how we do it. During the current Coronavirus social distancing, logistics have actually become more straightforward in some cases as we’re not scheduling around travel or location differences. Agendas might be more modest, but can also take a smaller time block. Some calls are tactical about something with a deadline that needs to be addressed, maybe to do with a parenting issue that needs to be worked through. While others are how to move their process forward or information that needs to be gathered before the next team meeting. It’s not the same as sitting in the room together, but it is a way to connect. For the client, that means that they can have a knowing that their process is moving forward and the support of their Collaborative team. They are not isolated and can still bounce ideas off of someone.
How can someone start the process if they don’t have a team in place, but don’t want to wait for Family Court system? Reach out to a Collaborative divorce professional. After a consultation to find out where they are and what the best way is to support them, the next step usually involves interviewing different professionals to put together their Collaborative Team.
Brenda Bridge, CDFA
Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Financial Professional