If you have children you know the sound of little voices coming from the back seat plaintifly asking “are we there yet”? This is also one of the feelings associated with the journey towards a Separation Agreement or Divorce Order. In discussions with Smartsettle Family clients many tell me the experience is like being on an out of control rollercoaster. Having seen a series of rollercoasters over the years I think this is an accurate description. Much of the separation and divorce literature uses this analogue so if that feels right to you hold on for a ride of deep valleys, careening corners, slow pulls to the next crest and the anticipation of the end as you come around the last corner.
Bargaining is the first in our final three Emotional Stages associated with Separtion and Divorce. Bargaining may be the last time either spouse exhibits hope the marriage might be saved. Often a person reviews their life looking for things they could change for the sake of restoring the marriage to happier times. Much of the literature I surveyed suggests this is the stage when we learn our limitations. At this time it becomes clear that we are not in control, especially not in control of the feelings, thoughts or intentions of our spouse.
Letting Go is a decision that each person does have control over and after struggling to save the marriage and turning yourself inside out to understand why the other is disatisfied it often feels like a milage sign indicating the end of the journey. Letting go of the hope for a restored marriage does allow each person to think about what a future after marriage “needs” to look like. A Separation Agreement is the immediate document that provides each person with a clear understanding of how the property division will occur and how the parenting responsibilities will be shared. Once a person has “let go” they often seek practical steps to begin planning for a solid predictable future. When a person schedules a meeting with a Family Dispute Resolution Professional/Smartsettle Family Facilitator they take the first step toward clarifying what they need, entering into a formal mediation process with their soon to be ex-spouse , using the Smartsettle eNegotiation system to make sure the negotiation is timely, fair and nothing of value is missed.
Acceptance is the final emotional stage on this difficult journey. Acceptance is past focussed and allows each party to acknowledge that the marriage relationship is suspended and likely over. Acceptance is also future focussed allowing parties to engage Smartsettle Mediators/Facilitators and Family Lawyers in the negotiation and creation of the Separation Agreement. At the end of the Acceptance Stage you will want to know what is happening with the house, what about our shared assets, how will the parenting time be shared and who will take on various parental responsibilities. Accepting, Acting, Seeking mediation services and Finalizing a Separation Agreement, these are the steps that allow each party to move forward into the future.