So many folks in marital crisis come into our office feeling that they have reached the end of the line. “It’s over” they say at that first meeting. But there are times when it doesn’t quite feel that way somehow when you are speaking with them openly and intimately. There have been instances when I have felt more love in the room between the “divorcing” couple than animosity. It has always struck me as curious when this happens, and I have learned to take the time to ask the couple, to inquire as to what this is that I am feeling between them. The outcome of such conversations are always beautiful, even if they are sad. And sometimes, on rare occasions, the conversation leads to reconciliation instead of divorce.
Instances of marital crisis are first and foremost human events. At Go Divorce Clinic of Marin and Sonoma County we understand that every relationship is as unique in its beginnings as it is in its end. No one should be handled like they were on an assembly line when they feel they are on the threshold of a divorce. There is so much confusion, disorientation, and overwhelm when a life partnership seems to be coming to an end. Of all the cases that come through our offices for divorce, there are instances when breathing space into the process and honoring the basic human dignity of both parties sometimes reveals that there is more to the matter than perhaps even the couple themselves is seeing. In these moments I feel it is my responsibility to ensure that the couple is understanding fully the import, and scope of the decision they are about to make, and offer them an opportunity to arrive at a place of clarity that can form the foundation needed to move forward with whatever decision is best for them.
It is part of the ethical component of the vision of our company to provide space upfront in the process that might even allow for outcomes that don’t always offer us a profit on every occasion. We have no agenda to divorce couples anymore than we have one to keep them together. What we do have is a heart-centered committment to help couples in marital crisis discover what it is that serves them best as human beings, and empower them to do that in any way we can help through our office – and that doesn’t always mean divorce. It is true that some people have come to our office expecting to divorce, and found that after the initial consultation they had re-considered, decided to work together to stay together, and are in fact still married today.
Some couples have come to our office needing something to change significantly in their relationship, and believing that that something had to be a divorce. Upon some discussion and deliberation during our consultation they were made aware of other options they had not considered. For some I have helped structure a trial separation with an informal written separation agreement that is not filed with the Court, in tandem with formal counseling, life coaching or other forms of relationship support outside our office. For many, a formal legal separation with a leave to amend to a divorce in the future if they so decided was the answer. For some, a spark of hope for reconciliation was what revealed itself at that first meeting, often leading to one or both parties working in scheduled sessions with me to enhance their communication and emotional skills to bridge the gap that was rupturing their intimacy.
It has always been important to me as the founder of Go Divorce Clinic that this company would be grounded in an ethical imperative that serves the needs of those who walk through our office door, and not the other way around. Unlike family law attorneys, that means we sometimes risk losing business to outcomes that may move away from the specific divorce services we provide. But it is necessary and appropriate that we do this, because I know children today who’s parent came into our office for a divorce, and still have mom and dad together and at home because during the initial consultation we stopped, listened and found something other than irreconcilable differences at work in their relationship. Instead, with these cases, we helped them move toward a better marriage instead of a divorce. We did the right thing instead of the profitable one, because my personal conviction is that abundance comes in more forms than money.
I hope we can help couples caught in marital crisis find whatever course they need to take to unfold the next chapter in their lives. Let me know how we can help. You can visit us at: www.GoDivorceClinic.com