Divorce therapy
Divorce therapy

Are you looking for divorce therapy?

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Therapy is something often recommended in divorce, and certainly custody matters. Therapy can take place in many forms and settings, but the focus should be on mental and emotional support. Whether you go to divorce therapy, family therapy, co-parenting therapy or individual therapy (for your and/or your children) it helps to have professional support along the way. (Divorce coaches are another option many are using to help get through the emotional and mental strife that accompanies divorce.)


Child Custody & Abandonment


Types of Therapy in Divorce

There are stages of grief in divorce that include anger, sadness, guilt, fear, depression and shock/disbelief.  (Read more about divorce grief here.)

Having an experienced professional can help you stay focused on the important issues while managing your emotions.  Furthermore, you’re more likely to accomplish your goals if you have someone to help you to see things for what they really are. A lot of truths about yourself are likely to be discovered in therapy.

Individual therapy is usually the route divorcing parties opt for. Individual therapy allows you address pre-existing mental health issues adequately.  Additionally, it allows you to concentrate on your own feelings without feeling obligated to consider your spouse’s needs. To many this is much more beneficial than trying to candidly  discuss feelings while the source of those feelings is present.

Couples therapy is another option in divorce. This route is more laser focused than individual therapy. However, couples divorce therapy can lead to individual therapy if the parties choose. Couples therapy entails both parties talking about and working through their concerns with respect to their divorce. Child custody, visitation, property distribution, as well as communication, disagreements, etc. are all valid topics to discuss here.

Both parties have the opportunity to express their feelings openly to help them understand what happened, to prepare them for post divorce and to help the children get through it successfully.

Family therapy provides a unique opportunity for intervention for the entire family.  Family therapy can take place during or after divorce/custody. It allows the children to express their own feelings and concerns about the break up of the family. Children usually have their own range of emotions to deal with, including guilt, fear, etc. and can benefit from dealing with them in a family therapy setting.

NOTE: This article is limited to therapy in divorce actions, not specifically for custody cases. The topic of therapy and custody will be explored in the upcoming weeks.

The Implications of Therapy in Divorce Court

Although therapy has its advantages, the courts’ perspective on therapy varies greatly. Therapy can a help or hindrance as far as the court is concerned.

Procedurally, having the parties actively involved in mental health services can place a burden on the court’s agenda. Most courts give their cases a time allotment for it to remain on its active calendar. Depending on the depth of Therapy services the parties receive, the case can drag on longer. Also, depending on what the parties are treated for, their ability to comprehend everything that is going on can be jeopardized.

Substantively, the parties receiving therapeutic services  may affect the court’s decision with respect to fault (or grounds), alimony (employability) and certainly custody. (Therapy and custody will be discussed in the upcoming weeks.) With respect to fault, if you are not in a no-fault state (most are no-fault) and use emotional distress or mental cruelty as the basis for Divorce participating in therapy can substantiate that. As for alimony, most states have factors that include the emotional &/or physical health to determine the amount and duration. Same with property distribution (especially in equitable distribution states) a factor that many courts take into consideration is the parties’ wellbeing.

Either way, these things should not deter you from getting help. If you are having trouble working through your emotions, or a hard time understanding what’s going on or can’t seem to focus on your objectives then you should certainly work with a mental health professional.

If you are interested in learning more about how I can help you prepare or defend your divorce or custody case for success in Family Court, feel free to contact me to schedule a FREE Consultation. 

Divorce Negotiations
Divorce Settlement

 

In divorce there is often a lot of pressure to settle cases instead of proceeding to trial. Judges, lawyers and even parties persist in attempting to get cases resolved in divorce negotiations.  Approximately 5-10%, of divorce cases make it to trial. (The proportion of custody cases is higher). The remainder of the cases are settled amongt the parties, attorneys, through mediation or at settlement conference with thr judge’s influence.


Parent Education in Divorce or Custody Matters


Divorce Negotiations 101

1. Analyze your position. This means understanding that your.

Best source of power is your ability and willingness to walk away and take another deal.

2. Know the process.

Try to carefully negotiate how you will negotiate in advance. Discussing these issues will help keep the focus on the important issues.

3. Listen actively.

Once you start discussing substantive jssues, resist the urge to prepare in your head the next thing you’re going to say next while your counterpart is talking. Instead, listen carefully to her arguments, then paraphrase what you believe she said to check your understanding. Acknowledge the other person’s feelings, emotions and thoughts.

4. Prepare your questions in advance.

You can gain more by asking lots of apprpropritate question. Try to avoid asking “yes or no” questions and leading questions. Instead, craft neutral questions that encourage detailed responses.

5. Be mindful of valuable tradeoffs.

Try to identify issues that your opposing party cares deeply about but that you value less. Then propose making a concession on that issue in exchange for a concession on the issue you value highly.

6. Stay away from anchoring bias.

Tons of research shows that the first things mentioned in a negotiation, has a powerful influence on the negotiation that follows. You can avoid being the victim of the anchoring bias by making the first offer and trying to anchor talks in your preferred direction. If the other side does anchor first, keep your desires at the back of your mind.

There are other valuable tips that help making negotiating settlement more effective. These are just a few that will make sure you are not cheated out of what is fair and equitable.

Waiving vs Settling

In divorce negotiations one key thing to keep in mind is to not give up more than you need to. In other words, it is important to maintain as much balance in what you forego and what you persist on.  There is a difference in surrender and submission in negotiations, the main one being you feel in the end.

In negotiations, surrender is when one gives a concession without receiving a corresponding benefit . Negotiation should be a two-way street, both sides giving up something while receiving something at the same time. When one surrenders they usually give up their power or authority to someone else. Oftentimes this power they give up is not voluntarily, but by some form of force.. Because of this giving up,, surrender can leave you feeling defeated, cheated and/or devalued. Even when you think you’re doing the “right” thing by avoiding worthwhile negotiations, giving in without a fight can render negative results.

Submission, on the other hand, is not about giving up power, authority or control. Submission is making an informed decision to give in. In negotiations when a party submits, it is with a knowing and understanding of all involved. The stakes, the benefits, the process etc. are all taken into consideration when one submits. The submitting party usually feels much more optimistic than one who surrenders because of the knowledge and awareness.

In conclusion

You should choose wisely in all divorce settlement negotiations. No one can make the decision for you but it can certainly help to have some skilled players to help you in the process.  If you follow the tips for negotiating you are more likely to gain valuable insight on what’s most important for you.

If you would like coaching through your divorce settlement please feel free to schedule a FREE consultation today.