I decided to exercise at home this evening instead of hitting the trails. So I pulled out my mountain bike and indoor trainer and attempted to put them together.
Placing the mountain bike into the trainer is normally a very simple process, but not tonight. I couldn’t get the back wheel into position so it would be locked in place. I loosened the tension; changed the bike angle; rotated the lever that locks the tire in place; changed the bike angle again, all to no avail.
Ten minutes later nothing working and I was frustrated. I thought about surrendering to the sofa then it occurred to me.
“Why don’t I use my road bike instead of my mountain bike?”
I had chosen my mountain bike because it allows me to sit more upright and is a bit easier on the back, shoulder, and tushy, but of course, getting a workout was my desired outcome. So, I pulled out the road bike and wa-la! In less than a minute, it slipped right into the trainer, I jumped on, and got exercising.
“What does a bike mis-adventure have to do with getting divorced”, you ask?
Well, it holds two very valid lessons that I share with my coaching clients who are committed to making their best choices in divorce. The lessons are:
Lesson Number One: Some solutions may be difficult to implement while others are a breeze. If your desired outcome can be achieved in a less timely and painful fashion, why not choose the breezy solution?
Here’s an example of Lesson Number One at work in a divorce. Paula’s desired outcome was to continue living in her home after divorce, until her children left for college, then downsize to a condominium.
The first solution Paula considered was buying-out her husband’s interest in the home then selling it a few years later. She didn’t have enough cash on hand to seal the deal, so she began applying for mortgages (a slow and difficult process in this economy). She also started researching the real estate market in an attempt to determine (predict) what the housing market might look like in four years when she anticipated selling and downsizing. Paula concluded that this solution would take a significant amount of time and had a relatively high degree of financial risk that made her a little uncomfortable.
The second solution Paula considered was selling her interest in the house to her husband then renting it from him until the children were in college. According to her husband’s accountant, he could receive tax benefits as her “landlord” as well as a homeowner when he moved back into the home in a few years. Paula concluded that this solution, which her husband also preferred, would be quick and easy. She loved the fact that she wouldn’t have to go through the mortgage underwriting process, tie up her cash, be obligated to pay a mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and the costs of repair, then, try and sell the home in a few years.
In Paula’s mind, both solutions would lead to her desired outcome, but the first was difficult and the second, a breeze. She chose the breezy option and twelve years later, she raves about how it all worked out perfectly.
You may not believe this, but the process of getting divorced is not black and white. Sure, there are couples who choose to take a very traditional path through divorce and there are judges whose orders are very linear. But, there also are many unique solutions that you and/or your spouse can uncover or create to resolve your divorce issues. These solutions can be crafted together or separately and may be mutually agreed upon or adopted by a judge.
So how do you find these possible solutions?
Through brainstorming. The power of brainstorming is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tools you can use and is essential to making your best choices in divorce. (Brainstorming your Options is one of the steps I show you how to take in The Soul Centered Divorce, 7 Steps to Making Difficult Divorce Decisions with Confidence and Clarity.)
Lesson Number Two: If at first you don’t succeed, try something else.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you give something a quick try and chuck it if it doesn’t work instantly. A lot of divorce solutions take time to finesse and finalize. What I am suggesting is that, if you have repeatedly tried and failed to make a particular solution work, try another.
Here’s an example of Lesson Number Two at work in a divorce. Cathy and Bill wanted to negotiate a divorce settlement without going to court. They were both educated and successful professionals who saw eye-to-eye on most things, so it seemed like a reasonable proposition. But, whenever they sat down together Cathy’s buttons got pushed and in her heightened emotional state, she would say things she didn’t mean and often, storm out of the room. Once she calmed down, Cathy and Bill would again try to negotiate an agreement, but Cathy’s issues kept thwarting their efforts.
When Cathy and I met during a coaching session and she told me about the problems she faced, I suggested that together, we could brainstorm her options to determine if there was another way she could achieve her desired outcome: negotiating a settlement without going to court.
After a fruitful hour, Cathy decided to try another option, which turned out to be the perfect solution. Cathy and Bill hired a neutral mediator who was both a family lawyer and psychologist. During the mediation sessions and with the mediator’s help, Cathy was able to remain grounded and negotiate an agreement even though a few buttons were pushed in the process. Cathy achieved her desired outcome and felt empowered by the tools the mediator shared with her during the process, which she continues to use while co-parenting with Bill. Her buttons don’t get pushed as often and when they do, she is better equipped to respond effectively.
So, it is important to remember that, if you get stuck trying to force a divorce process or solution that just isn’t working (like trying to put a square peg into a round hole), stop, step back, and see if you can find another option (a round peg) that works.
If you do this and still find that you’re stuck, don’t give up. As a divorce attorney, mediator, and coach who has worked through countless divorce scenarios, examined thousands of options, and helped so many clients uncover feasible divorce solutions, I can tell you that it can take some time and/or expertise to shed light on options you haven’t already considered.
Because brainstorming can be so liberating, if you’re stuck, I invite you to schedule a brainstorming session with me. In a power-packed session, we’ll put our heads together to identify your desired outcomes; discuss your circumstances; tap into the wealth of creative divorce solutions that my clients and I have used over the last two decades, and uncover as many options as we can to help resolve your divorce issues. The sessions are energizing and eye opening – I’d love to share my insight with you. Call my assistant at 415-322-9061 to learn more and schedule our session.
From my soul to yours,
Helene L. Taylor, Esq.
Author, Attorney, Mediator, and Coach