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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Transition Can be Easier:: Reducing the Stress of Divorce

Sep 01, 2014 04:29AM ● By Vicki Volper

It is common wisdom that divorce is one of the more stressful experiences that a person will endure. Children are not immune to the effects of stress. When children hear their parents fighting, their anxieties will rise. Even without actually hearing parents fight, children often sense their parents’ anxieties and begin to worry themselves. Studies have shown that the single most important factor in how well children do when their parents divorce is the level of conflict between the parents.

Recent studies have increasingly shown the physical toll that stress can have on the human body. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and makes us more likely to become ill. It can also worsen problems we already have. Stress has been linked to numerous physical ailments including headaches, heart problems, high blood pressure, asthma, eating disorders and sleep disorders, among others. It only stands to reason that both adults and children are well served by reducing the stress of divorce.

While no divorce will be stress-free, there are steps you can take to reduce the level of stress of divorce. Avoiding adversarial and confrontational approaches to divorce goes a long way to reducing the difficulty a divorcing family will experience. When parents can maintain their dignity through the divorce process, their children can continue to feel safe and secure in their parents’ love. Their natural resilience will allow them to adjust to the reality of their parents’ separation if the parents move forward without rancor.

Mediation and collaborative divorce are two non-adversarial options for divorcing couples. Couples divorcing through these methods need not get along well or be able to communicate. If a couple wishes to divorce amicably, regardless of their current level of communication, both the mediation and collaborative divorce methods can create a space where they can settle their differences peacefully.

More important than the ability for the divorcing couple to communicate with each other are certain other qualities each of them should have:
• Ability to be aware of and articulate their needs and goals for the divorce process
• Degree of empathy for their spouse’s situation
• Patience to actively listen while their spouse speaks
• Willingness to ask questions and not jump to conclusions about how the divorce process will end
• Understanding and acceptance that the divorce mediator will facilitate conversations between the divorcing couple, but not make decisions for them

The vast majority of couples who begin divorce mediation are successful if they are committed to the process. The rewards of a non-adversarial divorce are substantial and worth the effort to reduce the burden of stress and anxiety on the entire family. 

For more information about non-adversarial divorce, call Westport-based Vicki Volper, JD, LLM, at 203-222-1202 or visit

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