Communication Tools for Collaborative Divorce

by Tina Mears, LMFT

Learning to communicate efficiently and effectively is a progression in skills, just like learning a golf swing or entertaining for 50 people. There are many moving parts and it changes depending on who is in front of you. As you go through Collaborative Divorce, communication is a key component to its success.   Yet, it is extremely difficult to achieve because of the newness of the situation and the high emotions that

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Tina Mears, LMFT

come with the experience.

It is possible to achieve peaceful, consistent and purposeful communication with your former partner. It all begins with your mindset. Think about communication as having the highest purpose: your child’s well-being. The Collaborative Process is not about winning or losing, as we often see in litigation. It is about coming together, being supported by a team and communicating through each decision. The following are tools to practice as you take the necessary steps in restructuring your family.

  1. Curiosity – How often do we make an assumption and go in for the attack before really understanding the whole situation? It is extremely important to remain curious in gathering information before making decisions.   We can do this by asking questions, being a good listener and challenging ourselves to think in ways that we aren’t used to.
  2. Triggers – Let’s face it, we get triggered. When we aren’t paying attention and “have our buttons out” others will find ways to push them. Learning how to be more mindful and keeping your buttons in will help in more peaceful communication. It’s also knowing what your triggers are so that you can see them coming and prepare yourself with a response that will de-escalate the moment.
  3. Body Language –Our body language can really set the tone of a conversation. Our thoughts, intentions and feelings are expressed by physical behaviors, which could either help or hurt the forward movement of the process. Good eye contact and a relaxed body position can signal that you are willing to work through an issue.
  4. Listening – We can “say” a lot by not saying anything at all. Active listening is a very effective first response when working through a difficult topic. Collaborative Divorce takes a certain amount of trust and sometimes a person just needs to be heard and acknowledged before willing to consider an alternative or soften their position.
  5. Solution-Focused – Most of the language through this process is about finding solutions and keeping the process moving. Learning to communicate with resolutions in mind will help in avoiding getting stuck. This takes practice in compartmentalizing what’s painful and keeping the health and well-being of your children and yourself in mind.

The ingredients for a successful communication between you and your former partner for the sake of your children are reasonable and fairly simple to explain. They are, however, extremely difficult to achieve. With the help of your divorce coach and the other professionals involved, you can reach mutually satisfying goals that will pave the way for a new start and happy future for everyone.

If you would like to learn more about Collaborative Divorce, the members of the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego are here to help you. Contact us at 858-472-4022 or email us at sandiegodivorceoptions@gmail.com

 

 

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