Marjorie JamesI recently saw a poster on Facebook entitled “Grumpy Cat.” There was a picture of a very large, fluffy Siamese cat starting at the camera, and he was not looking happy (which is common for Siamese). The captain read, “There are two things I don’t like – change and the way things are now.”

I suspect that divorcing couples feel the same way. The marriage has gotten to the point that staying together is not seen as an option. The tough decision has been made to terminate the marriage. This usually is difficult because, even in a bad situation, there is a certain amount of comfort in the familiar. However, there comes a time when even the familiar cannot be tolerated, and change is necessary.

Any way we look at it, the prospect of dealing with all the life changes brought about by divorce is daunting. “Fear of the unknown” may sound like the title of a B-rated sci-fi movie, but it is much more than that. Where will we live? What are my chances of finding a job in this economy? How will I be able to feed my family? When I am ready, how does dating work in this computer age?

Children also have fears and questions. Do I have to choose just one parent to love? How will it work to just see my dad/mom on the weekends or in the summer? What will I tell my friends at school? What will my new school be like? Do my parents still love me while fighting with each other?

There are two things that these people don’t like, change and the way things are now, just like the grumpy cat! What is the answer to this conundrum? Collaborative law professionals cannot “make it all go away”, but they can help the people involved reach their own answers.

Through the calm, informed process called Collaboration, people are able to approach the issues with a long-term perspective. There are still fears and questions, but having someone who understands helps calm the nerves and enable good decision-making. Collaborative professionals are trained to see through the emotional “baggage” to help clients find solutions that make the dreaded but necessary changes less intimidating.

Maybe Collaboration could also make the “grumpy cat” happy. Then again, probably not!

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.

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