Unlike weddings, which are filled with extensive rituals, the ceremony of a divorce can be as simple as the client and his or her lawyer presenting a signed decree to the judge, with the entire proceeding lasting less than five minutes. Clients often have a rush of emotions at that time, including sadness and fear, even if they are the party who wants the divorce. And inevitably, clients are stunned by and comment on the lack of ceremony when their divorce is finalized by the court, particularly in comparison to a wedding. In many divorces, the clients are just wanting it to “be over,” but at the same time, they find the lack of ritual unsettling, as if something is not finished.
In a recent case, I actually had some clients say that they had looked online to find a ritual for the end of their collaborative divorce, since we had not discussed that nor offered them such a ritual. The other attorney and I said we had not ever been asked and were not sure if we should offer that as an option. But it gave us the knowledge that couples do think about such things, and so we should have rituals of divorce available for couples that might be interested in them and even suggest to them that such rituals are available. Marianne Williamson, in her book, “Illuminata,” offered a “Ceremony of Divorce,” which is intended to be performed in the presence of an officiant, ideally the parties’ therapist or counselor, and in the presence of the parties’ children. Williamson’s ritual, she says, enables the parties to forgive the past and release the future, acknowledging that they are and will co ntinue to be family. In her book, “The Future of Love,” Daphne Rose Kingma, also offers suggestions for ending relationships with “Conscious Parting” and “Ending with Grace,” which gives couples or anyone facing the end of relationship a new and fresh perspective on how to approach such a change.
Bill Connolly, a Houston lawyer and member of the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas, recently posted a blog on the Collaborative Law Institute of Texas’s website, entitled “Mending at the Ending: Creating a Ritual for Divorce.” exploring the reasons and options for rituals at the end of a marriage.
Camille Milner is a Collaborative Divorce Attorney in Denton, Texas, She is a strong advocate for the collaborative process as a way to restructure a family relationship. She handles family law cases in Denton, Lewisville, Highland Village, Flower Mound, Carrollton, Roanoke, Argyle, Pilot Point, Frisco, and Sanger. To schedule an appointment with Camille Milner call 940-383-2674.