As I write this, the results from the general election are still being discussed. It looks like Conservatives will try to form a government. What this means for the family issues that each party has promised, pledged or alluded to, is unclear. I think I’ll wait until the dust settles a bit before having my say on that, so watch this space.
But I did have the idea that this was quite a timely point to set down a type of manifesto of my own. Well, perhaps less a manifesto and more a six-point plan which I think can help a couple craft an amicable divorce.
The words “amicable” and “divorce” might appear to be mutually exclusive – or at least fall into the category of divorce myths that I was speaking about the other day! After all, if a couple are getting on OK, there would be no need for a divorce.
However, this is not the holy grail but, I believe, easily achievable if there is a willingness from both parties to try. And it is the best for both, as well as any children concerned, if it can be achieved, saving a lot of heartache and cost.
Avoid seeking revenge – setting out to get back at your estranged spouse helps no one, even if you think it will make you feel better. Pick your battles but do your best to be pragmatic and keep the emotional temperature cool.
It’s good to talk – keep communication channels open. If you are not speaking to each other, it is going to take longer and more expensive to get a divorce.
Keep the children out of it – children are not pawns to be used in a game of divorce. You will both remain their parents for the rest of your lives and so will inevitably have to liaise on their well-being. Don’t risk alienating them.
Be understanding – there are lot of different emotional; stages a person will go through in a divorce, including anger, denial and shock. They may be at a different stage from you, particularly if you are the one who instigated proceedings. Accept this and be sympathetic to their position.
Phone a friend – don’t be afraid to ask friends, family, doctors etc for support. Even if they are mutual friends, they will not want to take sides but should support you both if they are true friends. They can be a pressure valve for you. Alternatively, you can call on the help of a divorce coach.
Rise above it – if your ex is being completely unreasonable, show you are the better person and rise above it. Do not get sucked in to petty squabbles. If you are being bullied or suffering domestic violence however, you may need extra support from your lawyer.
Following these points – or even some of them – might just keep you sane while going through a horrible time, and enable you to come out the other end better prepared for the future – and a little better off financially as well.