It is likely you are here because either you, your partner, or even both of you:
are tired of fighting.
believe that the relationship you want may not be possible if you stay together.
are convinced you have exhausted every option.
suspect you or your partner might be happier apart.
are concerned about the effect of separation or divorce on your children.
If you are nodding your head right now, you are definitely not alone. Roughly fifty percent of married couples will reach the point where living separately feels like the healthiest option.
The decision to separate is not an easy one. By now, you probably have experienced many sleepless nights, tearful discussions, maybe even all-out panic. In the eye of the storm, it can be difficult to see the forward path.
Every relationship has a natural beginning and a natural ending. Some partners remain together until they are parted by death. Others are meant to be together only for a season. In both cases, an important purpose is served.
When viewed this way, separation or divorce is not failure. It instead signifies the maturity of each partner to recognize when a relationship has fulfilled its intended purpose.
When we proceed carefully and thoughtfully, we are more likely to trust any decision we make.
Whether you are here on your own or with a partner, separation counseling can help you determine the best next step.
Separation counseling addresses the tough questions
How do we move forward when only one of us wants to separate?
How do we design a residential schedule that best suits our family?
How do we minimize the unwanted impact of divorce on our child or children?
How do we live separately when our lives are so intertwined?
What will happen with friends and family once we are no longer married?
What will happen when a stepparent or stepchildren enters the picture?
Even when it is no longer working, a marriage is still part of the shape each family member associates with safety and security. When the family shape changes due to separation or divorce, everyone's world is turned upside down.
The single most predictive factor of children's post-divorce adjustment is the degree to which they are shielded from adult conflict. When children feel free to love both of their parents equally, they are better able to access their own natural resilience.
This is why separation counseling can be beneficial for all involved.
If a separation counselor or divorce therapist is involved, are attorneys still needed?
If you and your partner were legally married and you decide to separate, a legal separation or divorce will eventually need to be in place. Typically, attorney(s) are part of this process.
This does not mean that you and your partner will spend years embroiled in a heated legal battle. In fact, the research suggests that no one (but the attorneys) benefits from such an arrangement. Click here to learn more about peaceful pathways to divorce.
Separation and divorce counselors can help reduce the amount of time and money spent on divorce proceedings.
What if my former spouse is unwilling to seek help?
It is ideal when co-parents seek counseling together. That said, because your child or children will be spending time with you independently, seeking assistance on your own can still be beneficial.
I provide both individual and joint counseling to anyone considering separation or divorce.
I am already separated or divorced and need co-parenting assistance. Can you help?
Separation ~ Divorce ~ Death ~ Grief ~ Loss ~ Mid-life issues
Phinney ~ Greenwood ~ North Seattle
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How To Build A Strong Co-parenting Relationship (Even When You Don't Really Feel Like It)
Compartmentalization is the psychological curtain that slides closed when our feelings get too messy, uncomfortable, or inconvenient. Find compartmentalization and you will often find judgment--for the CEO who delivers inspirational speeches to shareholders from whom he is bilking millions. For the spouse who kisses her unsuspecting husband goodnight before heading downstairs to check the Tinder account. It’s easy to judge compartmentalization when it is used to facilitate subpar behavior.
But every card has two sides.
When used appropriately, compartmentalization can help divorcing spouses build and maintain a constructive co-parenting relationship.
Figuring out how to divide time with children, financial resources, and possessions can be a Herculean task, especially when we neither asked for nor wanted a divorce. Exes can easily become triggers or targets for our anger--sometimes even our rage.
In divorce, anger can help us forge the distance needed to heal the wounds of loss. Furthermore, when channeled appropriately, anger can fuel the rocket ship that propels us toward a new, post-divorce life.
But here’s where things get tricky.
The most reliable predictor of children’s post-divorce adjustment is how well they are (and continue to be) protected from adult feelings and conflicts.
In other words, the anger we need to feel in order to heal is the very emotion we must filter away from our children and out of our co-parenting relationship. Healthy compartmentalization helps give kids the needed space to work through their own divorce-related feelings, without feeling burdened by ours.