This is kind of a chicken and egg situation. Which came first, the possibility of reconciliation or choosing to use the Collaborative process?
Some people choose to try a Collaborative approach to divorce because they want to keep open the possibility of reconciling with their spouse. Other people end up reconciling because they tried Collaborative Law and their experience working with their spouse gave a spark to the idea of possibly reconciling.
If reconciliation is a possible outcome you would consider or desire, here are some suggestions to help you get to that possibility.
Don’t burn bridges. Be kind to your spouse and don’t say or do mean things.Trying to wear down or wear out your spouse is a terrible strategy for reconciliation.
Listen. One of the big problems in many marriages is poor listening skills. This would be a good time to learn to be an active listener and also to not interrupt your spouse. Respond appropriately, but you need to hear out what your spouse is telling you.
Forgive. Don’t hold grudges. There are plenty of reasons to be upset with your spouse, and for your spouse to be upset with you, but you don’t have to be upset. Be mature and forgive your spouse. You will undoubtedly need forgiveness yourself, so be willing to overlook some things and forget about past issues.
Admit mistakes. But try to focus on the future. Don’t waste time arguing over past mistakes and slights. Admit and move on.
Get professional help. That means, see a counselor. I’m not a therapist and most lawyers aren’t. Please get help from a licensed counselor who works with couples. There’s no quick cure for marital problems and there are no reliable self-help programs. You need a professional and you need to be willing to make changes. If either spouse refuses to go to counseling because "I don’t have a problem", reconciliation won’t work. Both parties need to be willing to fully commit to getting proper help.
There’s no guarantee that using Collaborative Law will lead to reconciliation, but the Collaborative approach sure establishes an environment much more conducive to reconciliation than litigation does. Good luck!
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