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Separation and Divorce During COVID-19: Using Goals to get there

Updated: Apr 23

Author: Nancy Payne, Mediator

With the new normal we are experiencing with COVID 19 many of us are not sure what our future looks like. Throw separation & divorce into the mix and the stress of our new normal and personal situation feels paralyzing. This is when we need to do the opposite of what feels natural (remain in limbo) and place ourselves in a growth mindset and create goals.

What is a goal? A goal is a dream or desired outcome that you want to create. Start thinking about what dreams you have and what you want your future and future relationships to look like.

Goals are important because they help you understand how to mitigate these concerns and setup the best possible future for your child(ren), yourself, and your partner. They significantly decrease stress levels, give back a sense of control, and are a road map to keep you on track. Goals are also powerful in getting you focused and into a more positive mindset.

How do you get to a future point where your child(ren) are safe and supported, both you and your partner have fairly divided the money & assets, are both in a good place to co-parent, and move on with your personal lives in a healthy way? By setting and using goals.

The pivotal point to moving forward to your desired result is putting an action plan in place

rather than spinning your wheels and leave you feeling out of control. Goal setting can be done individually first with couples, or co-parents, coming together later to share and understand how the other wants to move forward and why. Couples are often surprised to see that they have similar ideas. This is one way mediators help navigate a healthy and sustainable agreement.

What does goal setting look like and how do you get started? The simple answer is asking great questions. It takes time, reflection, honesty, vulnerability with yourself, and in some cases a support person to understand what you need.

While working on your goals, look at things that need to be dealt with now, while you are working through the process, as well as goals for how you see your life after the divorce.

Here are some examples of short term & long term questions and considerations when working through a major life event. Some will be relevant to you and some will not.





GOAL EXAMPLES WORKSHEET


1. What will parenting look like in the beginning while we are working though the separation?

How will we share the care?

Shared care with 50/50 split



What pattern of days work best?

Week on / week off

2. Will our work allow for any new arrangements we are considering?

One person’s work allows for a later start so child(ren) can be dropped at daycare.

3. Personal conduct during the separation.

How will we deal with our emotions and differences?

Remain focused on achieving the best outcome for our child(ren).

Ensure we do not argue in front of the child(ren).

Stay as calm & positive as possible & avoid overreacting.

4. What about money?

How will we divide assets?

I want to share our assets fairly, in a way that best meets the needs of our family.

I accept your financial need is greater than mine at present.

I would like to make sure we both have equivalent housing & lifestyles.

5. COVID-19

Can I reduce my child support?

Negotiate a new temporary agreement with the deferred amount paid at a later date.

Can we isolate our children at one home?

Communication to assess the real risk and what is happening in the other home.

Make up parenting time if one parent gets sick.

During the current COVID-19 situation we are working with our clients online. If you are not sure what you want your future to look like, we can help. At Fresh Start Mediation we help you navigate what is important for you. We have a full guide of questions to help you establish where you want to go and help you discover the best solutions for your situation, whether you are just getting started or are already separated.

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