Creating a Peaceful Divorce

How is it possible to have a peaceful divorce when there is so much hurt, anger, and lack of trust? With the heartache of ending a marriage, how can you avoid the tremendous stress, pain, and financial devastation of a courtroom battle?

Mediation can help you minimize the financial and emotional costs of divorce — despite the pain, anger, and lack of trust that usually accompanies the breakdown of a marriage. Here are some of the most important keys to creating a peaceful divorce.

First, find an experienced mediator whom you both can trust to educate you in the negotiation process. Second, set an intervention for you both to resolve the conflict and create a satisfying settlement. 

 Effective Mediation Promotes Peace

For both of you to feel comfortable in divorce mediation, you must have faith that the process will be fair and that your rights will be protected. You need to trust that your mediator has the negotiation skills, legal expertise, conflict management tools, and problem-solving ability to help you reach a mutually satisfying agreement in a peaceful way.

 There are several questions to consider when interviewing a mediator, some include:

• Is the mediator an attorney with legal and mediation training?

 • Will he/she educate both of you as to your legal rights and responsibilities?

 • To build trust, will your mediation sessions include both spouses?

 •  Will you be allowed, to have an individual caucus by phone with your mediator if there is a sensitive issue to discuss?

 • Does the mediator set up a peaceful atmosphere?

• Does the mediator have you sign a confidentiality agreement to protect your privacy?

• How will the mediator empower you when you are fearful of asking for what you want?

 • What will the mediator do to assure that both parties fully disclose all issues and financial documents?

• How will the mediator explain difficult issues that you don’t understand, such as stock options, business evaluations, and retirement issues?

 • How does the mediator resolve emotionally charged child custody issues? Once you have interviewed and chosen a mediator with whom both of are comfortable, you’ll need to do some “peace” work yourself to prepare for the process.

Creating Peace within Yourself

 Work on your own serenity Get help understanding your negative emotions. Read self-help books on relationships consider getting help from a family therapist. Your feelings of loss and disappointment are legitimate, but how you process those emotions will have a great impact on the peacefulness of your life right now. Your handling of emotions will calm for children and other family members, and help you achieve a peaceful divorce.

 Empower yourself

Being well informed with information about your legal rights enables you to ask good questions and feel more confident. Nurture yourself Take care of your body, mind, and spirit. Divorce is a stressful transition that may feel overwhelming at times. Exercise, walk, run, meditate and get spiritual guidance to relieve the stress in your body and get clarity. Be kind and gentle with yourself, — you deserve it!

Commit to ending the cycle of blame, guilt, and resentment

Recognize that you and your spouse did the best you could with the tools you had. You both made mistakes and experienced failed expectations. Don’t focus on what your spouse did or didn’t do. Focus on the present, and what you can do to find workable solutions. 

 “Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”

 –Robert Fulghum  

Mari Frank has been an attorney/mediator for 26 years.  She’s a professor of negotiations/conflict management at the University of California; Radio host of Prescriptions for Healing Conflict;  author of several books; and she’s been on over 300 radio interviews and quoted in various national newspapers. Visit www.conflicthealing.com and www.MariFrank.com. View her profile on DivorceMagazine.com

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