5 Ways Collaborative Law Can Help Your Mental Health During a Divorce

Walking through a divorce can trigger many issues when it comes to mental health. Divorce can be difficult, even when both parties agree to a dissolution of the marriage. Add in the recent uptick in mental health issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is no wonder why mental health professionals are becoming an even more important part of the collaborative law process. 

Collaborative law provides for separating parties to reach a solution along with a group of professionals. Including a mental health professional in those discussions can significantly help both clients throughout the process. Learn more about these 5 ways mental health collaborative law can help you through your divorce this year.

Recognize Pain and Emotions

One of the best reasons to consider including a mental health professional in your collaborative law divorce is that they are great at recognizing pain and emotion. Those in the mental health profession are specifically trained to notice and acknowledge feelings that the clients may have never realized before. 

The ability to name these sticking points in a collaborative divorce can be quite beneficial to healing and finding solutions that work for both parties involved. In a collaborative divorce, everyone works on cleaning up old wounds so that couples can work respectfully with each other. 

Make Sure Everyone is Heard

So much conflict could be solved if we all would only listen to each other. Mental health professionals are experts at listening and can help each partner really hear what the other is saying. Oftentimes a mental health professional or divorce coach can filter or reframe what one partner is saying so that it is easier to understand what the other partner is hearing. Everyone wants to be heard in the collaborative divorce process, and a mental health individual can help ensure that each side is understood.

Stop Unproductive Communication

Another benefit of mental health collaborative law is that these professionals can identify even the most elusive attacking and defensive communication. Stopping this kind of ineffective communication helps move the process along while also teaching each party how to communicate effectively. 

While a collaborative lawyer will help put an end to hurtful speech, the mental health professional helps identify all communication that isn’t productive to the collaborative process. The team of professionals can also meet behind the scenes to discuss the situation and help move the process forward. 

Avoid Courtrooms

The difference between a litigated divorce and a collaborative divorce is night and day and some divorce coaches would say that it’s like comparing apples to oranges. Couples who walk through a collaborative divorce choose to take control together instead of allowing a judge to decide their fate. 

The divorce process is a continuum of empowerment: litigation is less empowered while collaboration is more empowered. Couples should decide how empowered they want to be in the process when choosing collaborative divorce

Easier Transition for Families

Those who struggle the most in a collaborative divorce are children. Finding a licensed therapist in your area can significantly impact the outcome of a collaborative divorce. These mental health professionals are trained to help both children and adults work through family issues. Including a marriage and family therapist in your collaborative divorce process allows both parents to find a solution that benefits the entire family. 

Many adult children also have strong feelings about a parent’s divorce, no matter what age they are. It is important to consider bringing in adult children to the collaborative law process as they often feel caught in the middle. Collaborative divorce is a great option for parents with any aged children to help the family heal and move forward.

How the Law Offices of Donita King Can Help

Donita King offers collaborative divorce services for those families who want to work together to dissolve a marriage. She can recommend other professionals to join the collaborative law process, including a financial advisor, divorce coach, child specialist, and mental health professional. Learn more about how mental health collaborative law with Donita King can help find an acceptable solution to your divorce. 

This article was written with assistance from Susan J. Buniva, a licensed therapist and divorce coach in Richmond, Virginia. She has helped many couples over her 30-year career in both therapy and collaborative law. Susan enjoys working with a wide range of clients and believes that collaborative law is a great tool for those couples willing to work together. Find out more about Susan and her approach to collaborative divorce. 

Donita King

Ms. King is a member of the Virginia, Pennsylvania, and D.C. State Bars. She also serves as a University of Richmond School of Law Adjunct Professor of Mediation. She previously served on the Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council (2015 Chair), and served for several years on the Governor of Virginia’s Interagency Dispute Resolution Council. Ms. King currently serves as a board member of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board by appointment of the Virginia Supreme Court and has been active with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Women in Business as well. Se habla espanol.

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