Divorce & Decision Making in the New Year

It is a well-known fact that many divorces are initiated at the beginning of the New Year.  In fact, divorce attorneys have given the month of January the dreary name “Divorce Month.” The timing makes sense. Few couples will want to initiate a divorce during the holidays, in fact, others might actually be inspired to proceed with divorce after a disappointing holiday season.

People who are considering divorce often mull over the pros and cons for quite a long time. This is a decision that takes careful consideration. Many who ultimately decide to proceed still harbor reservations. If you are having a hard time deciding whether divorce is the answer, you can get help. Discernment counseling is specially designed to help people make informed decisions about their partnership. Unlike marriage counseling, discernment counseling doesn’t require both people to agree to “work on the marriage.” In fact, it’s specifically designed for those who are doubtful that marital therapy will do the job. It doesn’t require a large time or financial commitment either.  Discernment counseling is from one, to a maximum of five counseling sessions, meeting both individually and as a couple per each session.

The focus of discernment counseling is to determine how you’ve arrived at this point in your relationship and help you weigh all possible options to resolve the dilemma.  Eventually the couple chooses one of three paths:

(1) Decide to just continue on with the marriage “as is”;

(2) Make an informed and (ideally) mutual decision to divorce in a constructive manner;

 (3) Make a reconciliation plan to wholeheartedly work on renewing the marriage.

The benefits of discernment counseling go beyond clarity in decision making. Discernment counseling helps both partners see their individual contributions to the marital problems and fully understand what has happened to their relationship. With this understanding, people who proceed with divorce will be able to get divorced with less conflict, harm and expense.  For parents, this understanding will place them on the road toward effective co-parenting after the divorce is final.

I have made a commitment to promote discernment counseling as a way of helping people achieve what I call a “conscious divorce”.  A “conscious divorce” is a process by which the couple agrees from the outset that they want to avoid an expensive, contentious, and adversarial divorce and keeping the wellbeing of their children the paramount concern.  Many couples can agree on these goals but very few can achieve them on their own.  Those who simply hire an attorney to start a divorce action in court will quickly comprehend that the legal system has very different goals in mind. 

I started Cleland Collaborative Solutions to help people to reach their goal of a less expensive, contentious, and adversarial divorce that is focused on the needs of their children.  I do this by providing a way to get divorced without adversarial and combative attorneys, and in a way that is individually tailored to suit your unique situation.  If you want to learn more about what I can do for you, take advantage of my free one hour consultation.  I’ll help you to get off to a good start.


Categories: Other Musings


One of the primary missions of Cleland Collaborative Solutions is to help you resolve your divorce in Michigan without going to court, through mediation and collaborative practice. Learn more about the benefits of these approaches.
Although Cleland Collaborative Solutions sees divorce litigation as a last resort, it may be unavoidable. In these cases, our work centers on protecting your interests while preventing costly, unnecessary battles. Learn about how we help.

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