I say there can, and there MUST be HOPE.
Hope and divorce in the same sentence? Doesn't everything stop in a divorce? Aren't all divorces the same? My answers to these questions are, "YES," "NO" and "NO."
Yes, hope during a divorce. Start with the premise that there are no pre-determined "rules" in a divorce. Rather, think about your divorce as a process which will be governed by what is best for you, your spouse and your children, that is, your "family." Think about what will change for you, your spouse and your children during your divorce. These questions are unique, as unique as is your "family." Take time to answer the questions mentioned above: what is best for me; what is best for my spouse and what is best for our children. In working with families during a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce, I MUST know the answers to these questions. For, only with these answers, can I work with parents and spouses to allow them to achieve their "best" for how they will navigate their divorce. Their "best" begins when parents and spouses are allowed to have HOPE as they go through their divorce.
No, everything does not stop during a divorce. Life does, and must go on during a divorce. Time does not stand still. Jobs go on, children continue to grow; dinners with friends continue and holidays come along - all while you are going through your divorce. If life goes on, how do you want to live during your divorce? With a collaborative divorce or a mediated divorce, you establish "goals" - that is, you are asked the following: what needs do you have that must be met during your divorce; what are your goals for your collaborative or mediated divorce and what do you want for your future, after your divorce? With this type of thinking, parents and spouses are called upon to create a very individualistic approach to their divorce. They are afforded the opportunity to think and be heard about what matters most to them - as individuals, as parents and as spouses going through their divorce. With this type of thinking, HOPE is allowed to enter into the conversation.
No, not all divorces are the same. In just the same way as all people are unique, all families are unique and all divorces are unique. The difference is with a mediated divorce or a collaborative divorce, your voice is heard and you get to decide what is best for you and for your children. Of course, expert help is given along the way. Research about child development is plentiful and parents always want to read and explore what child experts say on various issues which affect their children. Parents also learn how to have a conversation with each other that does not end in total frustration. Guidance is given during these conversations so that each parent listens and also hears what the other is saying. In mediation and collaboration, the frustration is on the table and that frustration is the start of transformation. As parents continue to parent, after their divorce, the skills and techniques (use of an agenda, setting a time limit to the conversation, agreeing to where the conversation will take place) learned during a collaborative and mediated divorce are repeated time and time again.
As a last thought, I believe that in life you MUST have HOPE as life is hard and tragedies abound. HOPE allows you to move through life. HOPE can and MUST be with you as you go through your divorce.