This article is written by S. Camille Milner, a Denton-based collaborative lawyer and the current Vice-President of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas’ board.
For collaborative professionals, some of our highest and best work is to offer people options for reconciliation. Now, by that, I do not necessarily mean reconciling the marriage, although we are always pleased when that is possible. I once had a thirty-eight year old friend who was dying from cancer. She said that what she had learned is that there is all sorts ways to be healed, not all physical, and even if she was dying, she felt healed. And I think it is the same in a divorce. Even with all the wisdom of counselors, clergy and collaborative professionals, a divorce may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean that we cannot offer healing to the family relationship.
One way we can offer healing for our clients and their families is to help the work through their pain and anger to the other side where they not only can co-parent but they realize they are still family.
A Huffington Post writer I admire, Virginia Gilbert, recently published an outstanding article titled, “You May Be Divorced, But You’re Still A Family.” In particular, there’s a section on “what’s possible when divorced parents shelve their anger and put their children first” that’s particularly worth reading — and keeping in mind when thinking about what’s best for a family after divorce.
Two years ago, I had a case in which the teenage children thanked their parents for being willing to continue being a family even after the divorce. As they told their parents, most of their friends who had parents who were divorced either do not speak or yell at each other on a regular basis. Now, two years later, that family still comes together for holidays and other family events, living out our mission for collaborative cases to bring peace and resolution to our clients and their families.
Gilbert’s blog article reminded me of that family, and provides a helpful reminder for all of us that the opportunity for healing exists with every divorce.