Holistic Philosophy Mindfulness

A Holistic Approach to Divorce

As with most other forms of human conflict, divorce can often trace its root to a disconnect of one or both partners to their core sense of being. This disconnect was likely present at the time the couple met and, in most cases, has persisted either saliently or always lurking in the background throughout the marriage.

When we are unable to connect up with our true selves grounded in a timeless, non-dualistic sense of being, very often we manufacture a sense of self out of our thoughts and judgments about how things “are” and how we think they “should” be. This process may also be more commonly understood as “ego identification.”

When one or both partners in a marriage have come from a place of strong ego identification, they very often have looked towards the marriage or his or her partner as a primary source of “happiness,” validation, etc. in one’s life. This is not surprising given our deep societal emphasis placed on marriage and family. Problems begin to arise in a marriage, however, once the ego identified partner(s) begins to realize that the other has failed to eradicate unhappiness, provide validation, etc. in his or her life. At this point, if this process remains unconscious, all sorts of destructive patterns can begin to surface, eventually blazing a trail to the divorce lawyer.

The problem with our contemporary legal response to divorce is that it almost completely overlooks the root cause(s) of what initially led to the interpersonal breakdown. What is worse is that we typically plug spouses into an adversarial system and win/lose model of dispute resolution that almost invariably serves to directly feed into deeper, more harmful, ego identification.

The holistic approach to this situation involving spouses, and often children, is primarily aimed at unearthing these root causes and essentially helping the participants become conscious of their true sense of being. This is done in the context of a holistic practice by cultivating mindful attention to one’s present-moment reality. When a client is able to connect up to this core, his or her past ego identification can begin to be viewed or witnessed from a distance, and the identification begins to break down. The client begins to entertain the notion that he or she is not defined by his or her thoughts. This new realization is the beginning point for moving forward in relationships in a way that does not impose completely unrealistic expectations on others. This new ability to be mindful of the present moment simultaneously opens the door to more effective listening, empathy and compassion towards the other spouse.

It is at this point that the client begins to realize that he or she has a choice in how to proceed. Obviously, it is important that this process occur before filing a divorce petition in the courts which instantly places this situation into an adversarial framework.

Even if a decision is made to divorce at this point, the parties will be in a far better position to negotiate a marital settlement agreement that will be in the best interests of all involved in the short and longer term. Once this agreement is reached, the attorney can then proceed to wind the matter through necessary court procedures in a non-adversarial manner.

If you are considering a divorce, or would like to learn more about the holistic lawyering process, please call me at (415) 508-6263, or visit my website at

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