Clients sometimes ask me why setting goals in the collaborative divorce process is so crucial to ensuring a respectful and kind divorce. I explain it this way.
We all know that planning a vacation is just as valuable as actually taking the vacation, perhaps even more so. According to a 2010 study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, just planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually taking it. While the simple act of “getting away from it all” helps people reduce stress, whether it is for a day or a week, dreaming about where you’re going to go and what you will do when you get there can take your mind off stressful issues that cause sleeplessness, high blood pressure, and tension.
Goal setting in the collaborative divorce process is like that. Envisioning where you will be, where you want to be in five years helps you to de-stress. And people who are not suffering from anxiety and stress make healthier and wise decisions.
Goal setting also helps to make your vision a reality. You can’t get where you’re going if you don’t know where you want to be.
For any important decision, a crucial step in the decision-making process is analyzing what your goals and interests really are. When you step away from position-based thinking, it is common to realize that your true interests are different than what you originally believed in the heat of the moment. In a divorce situation, for example, for many, the trigger position is to want to stay in the marital home. But once you take a step back and analyze why you want the marital home, you may realize that what you really want is the stability that the home provides. In fact, once you think about it practically, you might realize that you would feel more stable in a different, smaller home that you could more easily afford or one that is closer to the kid’s schools. By considering your long-term goals, you may reach a completely different result than the one you would have reached when just doing shallow, position-based thinking.
Another way that goal setting reduces stress is because staying focused on your ultimate goal and setting strategies to help you get there helps to alleviate unwanted and harmful noise and doubt. This is why we commence each collaborative meeting with the facilitator reminding the clients of their goals. By reminding each one of his/her goals, both clients are able to stay focused on finding solutions that meet of their most important interests. Settlement agreements reached through interest-based negotiations are more quickly reached and are fairer than those that are reached when people are stuck in hard positions.
And goal-based resolutions result in less post-judgment conflict because both parties’ interests have been met.
The less stressed that you are during your divorce process, the better decisions you will make. So set goals at the beginning of your divorce to ensure a kinder, gentler divorce.
Open Palm Law, Win-Win Solutions by Joryn Jenkins
3839 W Kennedy Blvd. | Tampa, FL 33609