The Secret to a Stress Free Separation?
By Euan Davidson
It can be very difficult to come to the conclusion that there is no future for a relationship. Once children, the family home and a marriage are added to the equation then it is not hard to see why so many separating couples end up being drawn into emotionally and financially destructive disputes with their ex-partners.
Fear, anger and jealousy can all make it extremely difficult for important issues to be discussed, making it very unlikely that rational decisions that work in the long-term will be made. Everything from agreeing the children’s schooling arrangements to agreeing who will pay the mortgage can seem impossible to achieve and, far too often, the end result is a further breakdown in trust and communication that leaves one or both parties feeling that their only course of action is to seek legal advice.
Whilst there is nothing wrong with arming oneself with lots of legal and practical information, there is a high probability that a game of legal tennis will ensue, with the parties themselves sometimes feeling that they have become spectators, whilst the seats become increasingly expensive as the days, weeks and months fly by.
This is where family mediation can help, as a suitably qualified mediator should be able to give you both plenty of legal and practical information whilst also working as hard as possible at helping to reduce the conflict and create an atmosphere that is conducive to making informed decisions, with the added advantage of offering separating couples who have children the chance to work together for the benefit of the children in the future.
The mediation process can be tailored to your individual needs: it can be extremely robust and thorough, for example when it comes to ensuring that full financial disclosure is provided, in order to allow financial settlements to be discussed properly; it can be very sensitive and personal, such as when it comes to providing an environment suitable for exploring the future of the relationship, ranging from considering reconciliation to divorce; it can involve long, intense sessions or much shorter, regular meetings, with as much time allowed between the sessions as both parties need; it can use shuttle sessions (where the parties meet separately with the mediator) if joint sessions, which are normally the most effective way of reaching agreed proposals, are not appropriate; and it can involve the use of two mediators (co-mediation) with different skills, genders and backgrounds, which can be an extremely effective way to approach high conflict or high value cases.
Whilst it is generally the case that the sooner that you take the step of contacting a suitably qualified mediator then the greater the chance that you and your ex-partner will be able to reach agreements about all the issues that need to be discussed, it is never too late to mediate so, whether you are currently considering separation or whether you separated a long time ago, and you would like to find the most amicable and effective way to reach agreements, then a mediator could be a very wise first port of call.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I look forward to reading your comments.
Godalming Family Mediation