“Isn’t divorce more than just a legal experience?”
Divorce therapist and telephone counselor Dr. Deborah Hecker answers: “The divorce experience does not stop with the final divorce decree. The divorce decree merely indicates that the legal aspects of the divorce are over. But equally as important as the legal divorce is the emotional divorce, a process that invariably continues beyond the legal experience.
When a family separation takes place, both parties will grieve in a way similar to mourning the death of someone close. Just as there are stages in the legal divorce, often beginning with a filing of or responding to initial legal papers, the emotional divorce also consists of identifiable stages, with feelings of shock and denial surfacing immediately after realization that the relationship has ended. When the legal process is over, the emotional focus of the parties changes to acceptance and moving on.
Increasingly, professionals are recognizing that divorcing families’ needs are better served by interdisciplinary collaboration between therapists and lawyers. A divorce counselor can help guide the client through the legal divorce in ways to reduce conflict and to promote a post-divorce environment that will enhance the well being of the children and the couple, while reducing one of the primary sources of stress for lawyers — emotionally charged and misguided behavior by clients.”