Do you need help fighting? Or do you need help resolving things??

One of the things I regularly tell clients in an initial meeting is 'You probably don't need help fighting! But you might need help peacemaking'. At the beginning of a separation, emotions are high and people feel hurt and vulnerable. It's tempting to lash out at your spouse and try to get the upper hand off the bat in the (mistaken) belief that you'll better off.

For most people, the hurt fades. But the choices made early in the separation can echo for a long time. Some spouses choose to go the full scale litigation route: freeze bank accounts and credit cards, deny access to the kids. You can imagine what that echo sounds like. And you can imagine how much it costs once a big fight like that has started.

Making different choices at the beginning of your separation can be an incredible gift to yourself, your children and your family. You may still be angry, scared and hurt. You might feel taken advantage of, blind sided and worried. Finding a collaborative lawyer and/or divorce coach that can help you manage your emotions and look with clear eyes at your financial and legal situation is the best way to put solid ground under your feet.

In the Collaborative Process, the professionals help both spouses make choices that preserve sanity and increase the peace. Rather than fueling the anger, collaborative professionals help clients look underneath the anger to find out what really matters to the client and their spouse. With that clarity, the professionals and the family can start building agreements that will meet people's long term needs. Your marriage might be over, but your life (and that of your children) doesn't need to be poisoned. Finding a way to walk through this crazy time with your head above water is priceless.