The winter holidays can be full of joy, but its common knowledge that they can also generate a great deal of stress. For those facing divorce, mustering up any holiday spirit at all can be a challenge. You may find yourself surrounded by high expectations at the exact same time that you must confront the end of one of your most important relationships and the prospect of restructuring your entire family.
During such a difficult time, there is one thing you can do that might truly bring some peace and joy back into your life. Choosing divorce mediation can benefit not just you, but all of your family and friends as well. Consider it a gift to everyone on your list:
A Gift to Yourself
Before you can take care of anyone else, you must first take care of yourself. Choosing to mediate your issues instead of litigating them can lower your stress levels dramatically. Divorce often fosters a sense of lack of control over life circumstances. Knowing that an unfamiliar judge will be in charge of the decisions in your case can increase these feelings.
Mediation can help you regain control. The process removes arbitrarily imposed court deadlines and calendars and allows you and your spouse to determine your own results. Parties in mediation have the opportunity to negotiate calmly with the help of a neutral third party instead of treating every issue as an all-out court battle. Unlike court proceedings, mediation is private and protects the confidentiality of the participants. Perhaps most importantly, the majority of people find that their legal fees and costs are considerably lower when they choose mediation over litigation. All of these aspects can improve your mental health and foster peace of mind, freeing you to embrace the good things in your life.
A Gift to Your Soon-to-Be-Ex
If you and your spouse are parting as friends, then there is no better gift you can offer each other than the gift of resolving your differences out-of-court. Mediation can provide you with a much better chance of remaining friendly both during and after the divorce. And if you aren’t parting as friends? Well, if your former partner is not on your gift list, then letting go of harsh feelings toward them can be another part of your gift to yourself. You may well have justified anger to work through, and of course you will need to mourn the end of your marriage, but by choosing a process that reduces hostility, you can pave the way for faster healing.
A Gift to Your Children
If you have children, then their happiness is undoubtedly at the top of your mind. You may find it hard to focus on holiday cheer when you are worried about how the divorce will affect them. Perhaps you have heard that children of divorced parents are more likely to experience a range of emotional problems. The good news is that this is by no means inevitable. Using mediation to resolve parenting issues can prevent many potential negative consequences for children. When parents resolve issues through mediation rather than litigation, levels of conflict go down for the entire family. Your children are then able to see you as calm, capable co-parents who can work together to continue caring for them without rancor. Surely that is one of the best gifts you could possibly offer.
A Gift to Your Extended Family and Friends
During a divorce it can be critically important to lean on your friends and extended family members. You can help your support group be there for you by taking the best possible care of yourself. Many people going though divorce find themselves temporarily unable to talk about or focus on anything but the trauma they are going through. If this sounds like you, don’t beat yourself up; it’s perfectly normal. Do keep in mind, however, that even those who love you the most will eventually reach the end of their tolerance for venting. Everyone stands to benefit if you can take the temperature down a notch and make your divorce as non-contentious as possible. Choosing mediation can give both you and those you rely on most a more peaceful and joyful holiday season.
Remember that a New Year is on the Horizon
If you aren’t sure that mediation is for you, or if you have decided to mediate, but you still can’t seem to relax and let go of holiday stress, then keep your eye on what comes at the end of the season: A bright New Year! There is no better time for a fresh start than the beginning of a year. Celebrate by making a New Year’s resolution right now to focus on your own happiness. There will be brighter days ahead!
If you are ready to discuss mediation with one of our trained and experienced divorce mediators, contact us today for an initial consultation.