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When a marriage is over each member of the couple is often left with complicated feelings ranging from sadness and loss to anger and frustration. Yet the process a couple chooses for a divorce can set the stage for their future relationship. Out of court processes such as Mediation and Collaborative Law offer clients a supportive opportunity to work together, communicating their needs, interests, and goals in a clear and open manner.
As a person is contemplating the future, it is essential to feel financially and emotionally secure. Yet as each person works to protect his or her own interests and achieve what is “fair,” trust may break down as the couple feels overwhelmed and emotionally torn. These are the times when a person can feel stuck between a “rock and a heart place”―trapped between practical legal decisions and the desire to do what “feels right” by protecting oneself and those one loves and cares about.
These competing interests can leave a person feeling conflicted about standing firm or giving in to the needs or expectations of a partner. Family and friends, in an effort to be supportive, can also add pressure when they have strong opinions.
If the couple shares children, other complex feelings and issues may arise. Despite the end of the marriage, the role of a parent does not end with a divorce decree. Continuing to parent children post-divorce involves good communication, openness, and flexibility― the very elements of a relationship that often break down at the end of a marriage. Here is another place where there are complex needs that may leave a person feeling unsettled.
Mediation and Collaborative Law offer helpful ways to handle these difficult moments by encouraging clients to navigate legal issues while attending to emotional concerns as well. When clients have a sense of control over the outcome of their negotiations, they no longer feel stuck between a “rock and a heart place.” By using a process that comes to a close with dignity and respect, there can be an experience of peace and hope for the next chapter in each person’s life.
About the Author
Gina Arons, Psy.D is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience working with children, adults, couples and families. Dr. Arons is a Collaborative Law Coach and mediator, as well as a consultant to attorneys, mediators and their clients. She serves on the board of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council and is a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation and The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals. Dr. Arons maintains a private practice in Lincoln, MA and can be contacted at email@example.com