“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.”~ John Bowlby, M.D.
The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse. Why is divorce so stressful?
When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful. Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.
We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us. Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It’s that simple. And it’s that important.”
Divorce is just as much a life transition as marriage. Divorce is not about the division of property; it is about the division of lives.
Closure rarely comes with the decree of dissolution issued by the court. Closure can come more easily through Collaborative Divorce, where a team of Collaborative professionals helps you to facilitate peacemaking in a private, respectful process out of court instead of waging war in a courtroom.
Depending upon the needs of the transitioning couple, various professionals are selected to be part of the team assisting spouses in a healthy positive transition from their lives together into two separate households. One of these professionals is the Divorce Coach, a licensed mental health professional who is a specialist with clinical experience in human behavior and family systems. We help families learn new skills in conducting themselves in times of stress during the Collaborative Divorce process.
Our role as Divorce Coaches during a Collaborative Divorce is assist people through the transition process, to provide a soft landing spot for clients to deal with the range of emotions that are inherent in any marital breakup. Coaches can help you to determine what is truly … Read More “The Role of a Collaborative Divorce Coach”
Note: To avoid the clumsiness of using “child/children,” “children” is intentionally used throughout this article
It is clear you care about doing the best you can for your children through the separation and divorce process, because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths. You and your children will get through this difficult time.
Consider the following tips to help you prepare to talk with your minor children.
Agree on a time when you and your spouse can talk with your children together. Siblings need the support system they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they will have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them; for instance, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County had a wonderful opportunity to train with Vicki Carpel Miller and Ellie Izzo, Collaborative mental health professionals from Scottsdale, Arizona. Miller and Izzo discussed how people going through divorce are often in a “fog” of confusion and paralysis. Our job as competent and compassionate Collaborative professionals is to help each of the spouses to “recover” through what we hope will be a transformative process through Collaborative Practice.
How does this happen? By the use of a cohesive and skilled team of Collaborative professionals—attorneys, mental health, and financial professionals– who can alert you, educate you, and bring you out of the chaos and into the sunlight. This can be done by identifying the different phases of transition and encourage the following stages of recovery:
Recovery Mode: Burned out, over stimulated. Trying to be productive is hard. Transition by focusing on the basics like adequate sleep, water, exercise, the comfort of friends, etc.
Although divorce rates in the United States have seen a decrease in the last decade, divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010, one out of every 20 people in the U.S. who divorced was over the age of 65! Now, with the retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation (persons born between 1946 and 1967), the numbers of divorcing seniors is expected to escalate. This phenomenon is often referred to as “gray divorce.”
Some reasons for this increase in gray divorce include the following:
There’s no longer a social stigma for seniors divorcing.
Seniors are living longer and are generally healthier.
Our culture promotes happiness.
A few years ago, a Chicago area billboard advertised divorce with a message that life was too short to be miserable.
Are you a senior and contemplating divorce? Have you helped a parent, colleague or friend who was in their 50s, 60s, or older get through their divorce? Does it make sense financially for a senior married couple to divorce?