Blindsided by Divorce

BY ALLAN ARNET

Why a divorce coach may be just what you need?

The setting

One day, you’re home helping your child with homework. In between homework and checking on the baby, there’s a knock at the door. Looking cautiously to see who the surprise visitor is, you are shocked to find a police officer from the sheriff’s department. He asks you to confirm your name, and then hands you a piece of paper, informing you that “you’ve been served.” Seconds pass like years as you struggle to absorb what just happened. You glance at the top of the paper which confirms what you’ve just been told: Petition for Divorce. In the moments that follow, your son is calling you for help, your baby starts to cry, and you snap back to the needs of the moment. You desperately want to understand the papers you are holding and to break free of the numbness that’s just washed over you, but your kids need you.

Afternoon turns to evening and your husband still hasn’t returned home from work. Your eyes continue to wander to the papers on your coffee table. You pick them up and begin to read. Your heart is pounding as you realize that your beloved husband of 8 years has actually filed papers to end your marriage. You knew in the back of your mind things were not perfect but somehow you thought, this could never happen to you. There is a mix of emotions – hurt, betrayal, anger, confusion – they all take their turn. You can’t reach your husband. Will you ever see him again? What about your kids? There are so many questions.

What’s next?
The papers that have instantly turned your life upside down include the name of an attorney – your husband’s attorney – as well as a date and courthouse for a hearing. Should you find an attorney? What’s the next step?

Coaching: regain control
If you can relate to any aspect of this story, you may need a Divorce Coach. With no preparation or experience with divorce, you don’t know where to turn, how to prioritize, and how to organize. The next steps you take are so important, and yet you just aren’t sure how to proceed.

Your Divorce Coach can:
• Help make sense of what’s just happened
• Lay out a plan to get organized
• Work with you to prioritize
• Explain what to expect ahead to minimize future surprises
• Help you regain control

Prepare for Communication

by Allan Arnet

Many divorcing couples feel that once the divorce decree is signed and sealed, they will never have to communicate with their former spouse again.  This is rarely in line with reality, however.  Instead, divorce is a new starting point. As you look ahead to this new beginning, there are near-term and potentially even longer term considerations that may span years or even a lifetime.  This is why establishing a framework for healthy communication during the divorce process will lead to greater happiness not just for you but for those impacted by your divorce. 


Typical Divorce

Divorcing couples who follow the path set forth by a typical divorce attorney will frequently be discouraged from speaking directly to their spouse.  In fact, one of the first directives your attorney may issue is that all communication with your spouse should end, and all further questions should be directed to the attorney. This can have a detrimental impact in the long run.  Over time, the ability to speak to the person you once shared your life with is now gone.   

The attorney’s responsibility is to act solely on your behalf.  Your attorney does not and should not take into account the feelings of anyone but you. This is why your attorney now acts as your go between and a buffer between you and you spouse.   Every phone call or email your attorney sends regarding a question you may have carries a cost, not just to you, but also to your spouse.  The same is true with the response.    For the attorney, this works out well. For the client, however, outsourcing your communications to your attorney is both costly and seemingly unending.  Instead of speaking directly with your former spouse, you find yourself stuck in a pricey 4-step communication exchange between you, your attorney, the attorney of your ex, and your former spouse, trusting that the question doesn’t get distorted or misunderstand through these various intermediaries, and perhaps even their assistants. Once the answer is provided, that 4-step process is repeated again, meaning that there are 8-steps to every question/answer.  Every step incurs a cost and these legal fees can continue to add up well into the future, particularly if there are kids involved. 

There is another way 

In mediation, I teach my clients how to communicate with each other and how to take control of the process. Whether the issue relates to children, finances, or assets, it’s important to establish a healthy platform for an ongoing dialogue for your own well-being and for those around you.  I work with my clients to diffuse the emotionally-charged aspects of their divorce and empower them to find solutions.  This is why it’s so important to prepare to communicate and have the opportunity to hone these new skills in the safety of an impartial environment.

Benefits to direct communication

Consider mediation and its benefits.  Rather than giving up control to a third party, hold on to your independence and advocate for yourself.  Instead of paying thousands of dollars for attorneys to resolve every question that arises, use that money to take a well-earned vacation and resolve the questions yourselves.  In mediation, I am not your go between. You will speak directly to each other. By learning to communicate on a new level, you will not only save money but you will be creating a respectful environment that will extend to those relationships that surround you.  Learn to communicate, and plan for it. 

Mediation- Keeping the lines of communication open

It’s All About Feeling In Control

by Allan Arnet

February 2016

Take control. One of the common phrases I hear when I first speak with a prospective client is “I feel this is getting out of control.” This is particularly true for those who have already started this journey with an attorney.

Your important considerations. This is a common feeling when it comes to divorce. There is so much going on at one time. Finances. Children. Housing. Health insurance. These are just a few of the important considerations.

Don’t feel pushed or pulled. Your spouse may be telling you one thing, your family and friends may be offering other advice, while your attorney may offer different recommendations entirely. You may feel pushed and pulled in so many different directions, it’s no wonder you feel out of control. Who wouldn’t?

You’re in control. With mediation, it’s about taking back control. You are the driver instead of the passenger. Together, we will carve out a solution that’s agreeable to all parties. You can move forward according to your time frame and in concert with your priorities.

Take back control today.

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