Closing Ceremony for Divorce?
|April 7, 2015|
We are taught in collaborative divorce to offer clients a closing ceremony. For some reason, most of us are uncomfortable with that.
This isn’t about kumbaya, transformation or enlightenment. It’s supporting in a healthy way the transition which is the core of every divorce. How do we mark life transitions? By ritual.
In a traditional case the closing ritual might be a few words after the final court hearing or with the client’s attorney at signing. That’s the doorway to the future for those clients.
In our processes a closing ceremony is the logical and supportive ending and new beginning consistent with client goals. As Pauline Tesler says: “Elements are built into the final events of the representation that help clients achieve a kind of homeostasis or resting place with respect to the life passage that divorce represents for them.” That’s not kumbaya or transformation; it’s what it takes to transition from one life to the next.
What should be included in a closing ceremony? Tesler says:
In A Healing Divorce, Phil and Barbara Penningroth shared their personal experience and that of others who prepared for and used a more formal ritual, similar to a wedding, with reflection of the past, the transition and commitment to the future relationship. This is a counter to “The Myth of the Bad Divorce” that is rampant in our culture.
The authors say: “Because of the many negative attitudes about divorce prevalent in our society, a healing divorce may seem like an oxymoron. …Our experience and that of others leads us to believe that you can end your relationship with truth, love, care and forgiveness.” “Certainly, you may feel grief, fear, anger and jealousy – all the familiar emotions that make divorce so painful and difficult. But if you’re willing, ritual can help end your relationship with integrity and honor in a ceremony that often proves as meaningful as the wedding that began the marriage.”
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