Knowledge can help you navigate the difficulties of separation and divorce.
Have you ever made the “right” decision only to realize after gaining more information, it may not have been right in the end? As we grow and change, our knowledge base expands and so does our life perspective. In working with families who are encountering divorce, educating them on their options may offer an unknown opportunity for healing.
Years ago, I met with a couple, Rosanna and Ivan, that had spent three years working through the court system to resolve their divorce and custody disputes. Most of their communication had been through their attorneys, and they hadn’t reached an agreement. Months would pass without any communication between the two of them. They came into my office together looking for help to make decisions about the custody of their children. After four mediation meetings, they came to an agreement on how their children would share time with them. They created a plan that met the unique needs of their family, and they expressed gratitude in feeling heard.
In our time together, I educated them on how to navigate their family transition as well as minimize the impact on their children. They were equipped with tools on how to communicate effectively through an emotional time. They were able to weave their different perspectives into joint decisions. Lastly, they were empowered to move forward as a redesigned family.
Their ability to move forward and out of limbo provided ground for family healing. They were no longer riddled with anxiety waiting for another court document to arrive in the mail.
This is one of many family circumstances I have come across in my years of doing conflict resolution work. Most families are enlightened when I explain the creative options available to help support their family during a difficult and unknown time.
Just as you would gather facts or perhaps get a second opinion for your own physical health or that of your child, you should also understand all that is involved in making decisions relative to a divorce process. Educating yourself on the various methods available can make a difference in the outcome for your family. Increasing your awareness on the array of services offered, as well as understanding how they can be tailored to the particular needs of your family, will afford you the peace of mind that you have made an informed decision.
If you are even thinking about divorce or separation, you might want to attend a one-hour workshop called Families In Transition beginning February 27. It will continue to be offered every few months throughout 2018. There is no cost to attend.
The content will focus on options available for families considering separation or divorce, with a discussion of the pros and cons of the various processes. Legal and non-legal aspects that arise during a separation or divorce will also be covered. Additional information can be found on www.cpnwpa.org, and registration can be done via the website.
Reflecting can be beneficial in making decisions moving forward. Self-compassion can help us heal in the decisions we have already made. Gathering as much information as possible before making life decisions can be of great benefit. Be proactive in meeting the needs of your family if you find yourself in a situation where you are considering separation or divorce.
Melissa Sulkowski is a trained family mediator and divorce coach specializing in conflict work in Erie. She has worked in private practice for nearly 17 years and holds licenses as a professional counselor and registered nurse and has been working with children and families for more than 23 years. She is a mom in a blended family and the owner of Nurturinse, a practice that promotes a holistic approach to health and offers peaceful alternatives to healing.