Divorce counseling offers a couple the benefit of a neutral relationship expert that can help them navigate the waters of a separation or divorce. The financial and emotional impact a divorce has can be overwhelming and leave people with many unanswered questions. A divorce counselor is trained in conflict resolution skills and can help you negotiate the terms of your divorce. The U.S. Census Bureau continues to report that half of all marriages end in divorce, and the majority of those marriages have children to consider. Many couples who have attempted marriage counseling in the past reach a decision to divorce together and can continue to get along despite this decision. The help of a divorce counselor mediator can bridge the legal, emotional, and logistical questions a couple has without the need for court interference or costly legal fees.
In the past the first response to divorce discussions might be to hire the help of a divorce attorney. A professional divorce counselor approaches divorce differently than an attorney. Divorce counselors have a background in mental health and better understand the emotional impact this life-changing decision has and how paralyzing it might feel to begin creating a new life for yourself. A divorce counselor also understands how your divorce will impact your children and will help you develop strategies to minimize emotional trauma. Divorce counseling will help you identify co-parenting issues and will teach you communication skills that will benefit your relationship after your divorce is final.
Divorce counseling and marriage counseling have different goals and outcomes. Relationship transitions, such as marriage and divorce, have a significant impact on your life. Marriage counseling can help a couple work through difficult issues dealing with communication, trust, infidelity, finances, parenting, or lost romance. A relationship expert is trained to quickly identify problems in a relationship and help couples develop skills to resolve their conflict. Divorce might still be the best option for a couple that has been dealing with on-going issues and doesn’t have to be litigious or highly contested. Divorce counseling can help minimize the impact divorce has emotionally and financially, and help you resume a satisfying and successful life after your divorce. Pre and post-divorce counseling sessions with a divorce counselor will help you move forward with your decision in a cooperative, and positive way.
Pre-divorce counseling provides you with a safe, confidential place to address your divorce issues head on. The process of untangling two lives will require some discussion and planning. With the help of a divorce counselor that understands how divorce process works, you can begin making informed decisions about your future. You can each other questions about equitable distribution and how you will be dividing your assets or debts. You can talk about your children and how to discuss the divorce with them. You can begin discussing parenting issues and how you will co-parent with each other after your divorce. A divorce counselor will teach you tools and strategies to cope with issues that might arise over the coming months.
Making the difficult decision to separate from a life you shared with someone is not an easy one. This decision will have consequences that could last for months or years to come. Getting the right support along the way through post-divorce counseling will help you set new boundaries, overcome fears of starting a new life alone, find ways to embrace new relationships, and help you deal with guilt or grief. Divorce is very similar to death and people experience the loss in the same emotional ways. These emotions can be crippling at times. With the right help from a post-divorce counselor you can feel empowered in your decision and move forward more healthily.
Many couples today understand that divorce doesn’t have to end with drama and fighting in court. Oftentimes the decision to get divorced is mutual. Research has shown that people who remain married, despite wanting to be divorced, are more susceptible to extramarital affairs, depression, anxiety, and other emotional or physical consequences. Divorce counseling can validate for a couple that they are making the right decision. Divorce can be amicable. People can work together through the process to achieve better results than a litigated divorce. If you aren’t sure if divorce counseling will work for you, consider these factors:
Every person going through a divorce experience differently. The stages of divorce can be comparable among almost all divorcing couples. Identifying which stage of divorce you are in will help you understand the benefits you will get from a divorce counselor during each stage.
The typical divorce begins with Stage One in which there is usually the “initiator” (or the person who has been thinking about the divorce longer or has made the decision sooner) and the “non-initiator” (the person who might be caught off guard by the divorce concept, or who has not been thinking about getting divorced, but may have noticed things weren’t going well.) This stage is a time when the emotional impact of the divorce concept is first introduced. The initiator may appear to be less emotionally impacted because they have already spent some time adjusting to the idea. The non-initiator may appear to be the more emotional one and as shock wears off, demonstrate sadness, anxiety, or other symptoms. During stage one, blaming the other spouse is very normal.
Divorce counseling and mediation can be useful during any stage of divorce. It helps clients start making short-term decisions concerning the physical separation and gives each person a sense of control over their lives. Benefits of divorce counseling in stage one:
Divorce counseling and the mediation process helps assign tasks and gives each person a clear understanding for what they can do to empower themselves and move forward in a productive way.
In stage two each person begins to grieve the loss of the relationship. Experiencing the stages of grief (anger, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) are common. Divorce is a trauma and it will impact you like a death. You might feel ashamed, guilt, alone, and feel disconnected from your family or friends. You will begin to think more about what life alone will look like. Divorce counseling or mediation is beneficial in this stage for:
This stage is usually met with high emotions and energy. As the reality sets in, anger is often felt as questions arise; “How will I support myself?”, “Where will I live?”, “Are my kids going to be traumatized?”, “What if I can’t find someone else?” This is also the time when a person might be think they need to go to court to prove they have been wronged. They may think that litigation will help them “win” and then they will feel better. Anger is not a healthy emotion and behind the anger is usually fear of the unknown and hurt feelings. Using the court system to work through this will only drag out your healing process, costing your more emotional and financial trauma. Divorce counseling and divorce mediation in this stage will help with:
This stage is about being alone. You may be in separate living arrangements, paying individual bills, co-parenting, and or even beginning to consider dating again. This stage is marked by an increased awareness over your new independence. You might find that your friends and family support has changed with your new circumstances. You might have a hard time relating to others or find that you feel judged or criticized. Divorce counseling and mediation can help you during this stage:
This stage is usually characterized by a feeling of acceptance. The divorce papers might be in the processes of finalization or there might still be issues you are working on with your parenting plan. In any case, this stage still benefits from mediation and divorce counseling and allows each person to receive experienced help. This stage is marked by:
Your divorce does not have to be an on-going painful process. Litigation often has the most negative impact on divorce by dragging issues out for a long time. This prevents healing and damages people more deeply. Divorce counseling and divorce mediation will help you identify the stages of divorce you are in and the areas you need to resolve. Using a certified Orlando divorce counselor, trained in Florida divorce laws, conflict resolution, and mental health issues, means you are making a good decision for your future.
At Orlando Thrive Therapy, your divorce counselor will support you, guide you, and help you put together the divorce you want. Your divorce papers will also be drafted and are legal documents that you can file with your divorce. You will get the most benefits from divorce counseling in Orlando during any stage of your divorce. Call or email us today to find out more information or schedule your consultation. You will be given information that will help you determine the best course of action for you and your family.
Heather Oller is a licensed Orlando therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching & Counseling who specializes in counseling Orlando couples, individuals, and families who are seeking changes in their lives. She has been a mental health professional for over 17 years and is a practicing Orlando counselor that specializes in conflict resolution for couples. You can contact her for an appointment or call 407-592-8997 for more information.