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The current divorce legal system encourages bad behavior, cost you money, and wreak emotional havoc on your family. The court system wasn’t set up to do that, but that’s been the unintended outcome. During a divorce it is important to conserve your financial and emotional resources and acknowledge that an all-out divorce war could leave you too broken and financially devastated to move on. But you can move on from this marriage, learn from your mistakes, and serve as a role model for your children, your friends, and your community.
Whatever it was that made your marriage unsustainable doesn’t have to predict whether and how you settle your divorce issues and successfully redefine your relationship with your former spouse. You can use the 8 keys to resolving family conflict and your favorite of the 8 peace practices to unilaterally change the way you and your spouse interact as you work through your divorce.
When you get caught up in the blame, shame, and shoulda-woulda-coulda, you miss opportunities to create forward-thinking solutions. Drama and havoc wreaking aren’t necessary components of uncoupling. They’re typical components of a divorce, but they aren’t necessary.
In spite of any anger, fear, grief, and guilt you may feel around your divorce, you want to do the right thing by everyone concerned. Hold on to that thought throughout this process. Your behavior during your divorce won’t always be perfect, but if you keep trying, you’ll find your way.
Let the painful experiences in your life show you what you don’t want. As long as you learn something from your marriage and divorce, neither was a mistake. You can’t change the past, but you do have some control over the outcome. However, the most important thing right now is that you stop the hurting. You and your spouse don’t have to vilify each other to justify your divorce. You can use your divorce to end your pain, not cause more.
Setting Your Emotional GPS
When you set your car’s GPS for an address, that is where your path will take you. The same is true of your own emotional GPS. When you program your destination for goodness, that’s where you’ll end up.
There will be obstacles in your path, to be sure. And at times you may need double back and start over. But when you use your good intentions and good faith efforts as your beacon, you will finish your divorce as you intended—happy, healthy, and whole.
The magic lies in your intention to have a peaceful divorce. You don’t have to be a saint or a mystic to find peace. All you really have to do is decide to put an end to the conflict in your life and then keep moving in that direction. We call this setting your emotional GPS to goodness, embarking on a journey with peace as your destination. This chapter will show you how to do that.
To set your emotional GPS to goodness you will:
Diana Mercer, Esq. is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services in Los Angeles, California ( www.peace-talks.com ). A veteran litigator, she now devotes her practice solely to mediation. Outgoing and down-to-earth, she makes clients and attorneys feel at ease in solving family law disputes, divorces, custody, premarital agreements and estate planning conflicts. She is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin/Perigee 2010) www.makingdivorcework.com/buybook.html and Your Divorce Advisor (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001) and writes for the Huffington Post www.huffingtonpost.com/diana-mercer as well as her own blog Making Divorce Work makingdivorceworkblog.com. She is the co-author of Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Fireside 2001). She's an Advanced Practitioner Member of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) and is admitted to practice law in California, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and before the Supreme Court of the United States.
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