The Relationship Blog

Who Do You Need In The Divorce Process?

While the divorce process may seem like a complicated, scary endeavor, it simply comes down to the relationship between tasks, such as dividing assets and determining support, and on the other side dealing with emotional agendas. Emotional agendas in the form of acting out hurts, anger, and fear can magnify any of the tasks into difficult conflicts that can last for years. Understanding this relationship is important to clients and professionals alike when faced with a variety of divorce questions. The percentage of the time necessary for tasks and agendas varies through different divorces and will determine the professionals one will need to resolve the process.

  • In an amicable low-conflict divorce, it is typically 100% task and no emotional agendas, and the professionals needed is limited to a paralegal or a cooperative attorney or financial mediator.
  • In a moderate-conflict divorce, the ratio shifts to 60-70% task and 30-40% emotional agenda. In this case there will be a need for attorneys or mediators with relationship experience beyond the legal issues, as well as possibly some help from therapists or divorce coaches. The latter are capable of moving a person through the common conflicts that emerge in divorce and can lessen the time and cost involved.
  • In high-conflict divorces, the percentage has shifted greatly to the point that the tasks are only 20% and the emotional agendas are now 80%. It is essential that therapists and divorce coaches be brought in as soon as possible or the damage to the family on every level can be enormous. A dilemma arises here in that even though the need for this kind of help is at the highest level, the couples are basically run by their emotions and are largely unconscious that they need help. They are too busy blaming the other to use good judgment. It needs to be explained to these couples that they can choose to ignore the intentions of their 80% emotional agendas and look forward to being continuously dumped on or negatively characterized by the other as they engage in exhausting battles over couches, etc. For the sake of their children they need to bring in the therapeutic professionals who can lessen the intensity between them. It should also be mentioned that they can do it at the beginning or they can wait until they have blown through their first $100,000, destroyed any possible trust, and their kids are hanging on for dear life.

If the couple is not sure which group they would fall into, then it might be helpful if they took the Divorce Conflict Survey.

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