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Divorce law blog

Are you ready for divorce or separation? It’s allegedly the time of year when many of us find out ...

22/01/2018   By: Alison Bull

You may be sure you want a divorce, or unhappy with your marriage and can’t see another way forward, or on the receiving end of this from your partner, and don’t believe there are any issues in your relationship, or can see that there are issues but don’t know what to do about them or are faced with a partner who is not motivated to do anything about them.

It may be helpful to separate out how you feel (your emotional needs) and what you think about a separation (the practicalities and the financial consequences); and if you have children, to work through your feelings and thoughts separately as an individual and as a parent (difficult though this is). Therapy can be invaluable to help with this exercise; particularly since it can be somewhat overwhelming. If your partner won’t engage with this, then you can have therapy individually. 

You are very likely to be fearful, anxious and/or concerned about whether this is the right thing for your children (or sure that it isn’t), and also afraid that you may lose touch with your children, both if it is you who is making the decision or if you are having it imposed on you.

Perhaps ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I most afraid of? How likely is that fear to come to pass? What can I do/think/feel differently to reduce/manage that fear or prevent it becoming a reality? Or am I in such danger that I need immediate help to exit a perilous situation?
  • How do I feel about my partner, and my relationship, and have, or how have those feelings changed? What can I do/think/feel differently to address this? How strong is my emotional attachment?
  • Do I really want to separate or stay together, or am I frightened about being on my own, or frustrated, angry and unhappy about something in the relationship or my life generally, or overwhelmed with guilt? What can I do/think/feel differently to address this? 
  • How can I plan to communicate with my partner about all of this? Talk, email or write a letter first, or communicate with the help of a therapist.
  • Am I able to cope, manage and/or deal with sorting out the consequences, and how, and what and who do I need to help me with those? 
  • Is now the right (or probably the least wrong) time? If not, why not? Is it because of fear, not being emotionally ready, or for a practical or financial reason? 

So many different cultures work on a rarely challenged assumption that the core family means two parents and their natural children together, whereas the reality is that blended families are fast becoming the norm, and there is now research which seems to make clear that it is conflict in families that is damaging for children’s long-term outcomes; between parents who live together or live separately.

So it’s how you sort all of this out that is likely to be the most important factor. There is lots of information about mediation, family lawyers and other ways of sorting things out on www.divorce.co.uk, whether you are married or not. Here at Mills & Reeve, we have specialist lawyers who are trained as mediators, collaborative lawyers and arbitrators all of whom have the necessary skills and experience to help you, whatever your family situation.

This week is Mediation Awareness Week, organised by the Family Mediators Association. It aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively and productively. Watch out for more blogs this week highlighting how mediation could help you and your family.

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