Understanding How Grief Influences Divorce Mediation

Whether a divorce is completely amicable or highly contentious, it is an emotional situation for everyone.  Most people will grieve the life of which they had dreamed of having, grieve the loss of love, grieve the loss of social standing, grieve the loss of a family dynamic for your children, etc.  Grief can be both rational and irrational but either way, grief can cause people to do things that are out of character or make poor decisions in stressful situations, such as divorce.  One of the most effective ways to manage the influence of grief on the divorce process is to work closely with an experienced and knowledgeable divorce mediator.

Divorce mediators with backgrounds in both law and psychology are not just compassionate listeners (though they are often that!).  Mediators with these backgrounds can help a couple communicate effectively rather than from an emotional, grief-filled place.  It can sometimes feel like showing a weakness to share that you are grieving during the divorce process, but it is important to acknowledge grief. Many people may not even realize that the feelings they are experiencing are grief because grief can take many forms.  Further, one spouse may be at a different stage of grief than the other spouse, so the stages may not align, making effective communication difficult.  For this reason, it is essential that mediators assist divorcing couples in understanding and coping with their grief so that it can lessen the effects on informed decision making.  If additional support is needed from a mental health professional, your divorce mediator can also assist spouses in getting the help they need.

In addition to spouses, if children are involved, they also often experience grief about their parents’ divorce.  Mediators can help families manage their grief to ensure the best interests of children are always maintained in decisions.  Once the grief of both parties has been acknowledged, the mediator can assist in managing and mitigating grief so that the most effective and fair decisions can be made during divorce.