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Helping Northern Westchester Families

Mar 5, 2019BY:
IN: Collaborative Divorce, Dealing with Divorce

The Power of Pause in Divorce

Woman meditating to help deal with stress of divorce.

One of the most powerful tools in processing your divorce is pausing. Divorce is chaotic; your world is turned upside down. Pausing promotes balance and renewal, which is essential in helping you move forward. The collaborative divorce process is structured to accommodate pauses as part of the process and provides a safe space to work through all aspects of your divorce. Working with a team of professionals in the resolution of the emotional, financial and legal issues relative to their divorce, couples are able to control the outcome and resolve conflict in a dignified manner. This client-centered approach, however, is not easy, as you must also confront and address head-on very challenging issues. Agreement is reached by all participants to engage in civil respectful negotiations in a non- adversarial manner without the threat of litigation.  In this way, a couple can reach agreement on their own terms and on their own time table.

Time is often needed to process the complexity of issues and manage the powerful emotions surrounding divorce. Creating space for a pause can be as simple as taking one deep breath during negotiations, to stepping back from negotiations for an extended period.  Each break no matter how small is equally as powerful. The issues you need to resolve in your divorce are like land mines. You do not realize what emotions will be triggered until they are unpacked in discussion. This can happen during a meeting that you did not anticipate. For example, a discussion of where each spouse will reside after the marital home is sold may lead to the disclosure of one spouse moving in with a new partner. Faced with the reality of this new relationship may trigger a wave of emotions from shock, anger, resentment, jealousy, loss and regret. In that moment, time may be needed to adjust to the fact that your marriage is really ending as your spouse has moved on and is in fact literally moving in with a new relationship. You may be able voice the need to take a break to process this revelation or one of the collaborative professionals can call for this break if you are unable. One of the many benefits of working with a team of professionals in the collaborative process is that each team member is committed to working together to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. They are continually taking the temperature of the room, taking visual cues and assessing the processing of the information and how each client is managing. Negotiations can quickly devolve and become unproductive if one person is triggered by their emotions, which can sabotage their best interests and compromise the process.

Taking the time to allow for the nervous system to recharge by creating a quiet space to restore calmness is vitally important when faced with a challenging experience such as divorce. Going inward to reconnect to one’s own higher purpose and well -being is healing and comforting. Ultimately the success of a collaborative divorce is predicated upon the couple reaching agreement and agreements cannot be reached if you do not have this clarity. Pausing is one way to achieve clarity. Silencing the outer noise of our surroundings and the inner noise of an overactive and reactive mind is essential to hearing our hopes and intentions. Taking the time to pause, to be still and quiet, renews connection to our higher purpose and provides for balance and healing. Scheduling time for daily meditation is one way to incorporate pausing into our daily lives to reduce stress proactively. When divorcing, even more time is needed to pause.

The time and energy expended by your divorce needs to be balanced by more positive energy with whatever activity brings you joy, calm and peace, such as spending more time with friends and family, exercising, cooking, reading, watching television, going to the movies or learning something new, and anything and everything that offers you a fresh and positive perspective on life and yourself. Stopping and taking the time to pause and consider what really matters to you, exploring your hopes and dreams, and defining what you value most in life, yourself and others is the first step in moving forward. Pausing provides a break from your past, grounds you in the present and fills you with the possibility of a better future. Clearing your mind from negativity is a tool only you can operate and only you can define how and what you need to refocus and reenergize your spirit and intentions. After pausing you can then return to your divorce with renewed energy and a relaxed and calm spirit. In this way you are better able to achieve the best possible outcome for yourself by putting your best self forward in your divorce; all by taking the time to pause.

The author, Melissa Goodstein, is a member of Northern Westchester Collaborative Divorce Professionals which is an association of lawyers, mental health professionals, and financial professionals specializing in the collaborative divorce process. If you have questions about collaborative divorce and how this alternative to courtroom litigation can work for you, please contact Melissa Goodstein. Contact information can be found by clicking/tapping the author image or the "View Profile" link on this page.

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