Is a good divorce possible?

little-boy-and-dog-300x216When people separate they are generally going through enormous distress and anxiety, so how can it be in any way good? There is the point that although the process can be a very painful one, for some people they end up in a better place emotionally. The relationship, for whatever reason, has not worked and moving on to be alone and comfortable with that or to be with a new partner is often far better than staying in a difficult and possibly destructive relationship. Nevertheless if there are children both parents will fear losing contact with the children. Often there is an assumption that the children will stay with their mother. But women still worry about losing their children in some way. The children may spend time with their father who, if he is the breadwinner, may have more resources to give the children a better time, or so the mother fears. So there is anxiety for both parents. Added to that, children will notice difficulties between the parents well before you think they do. So try and focus on the children as soon as possible and this may help to be able to work towards separating on better terms. In order to separate ‘better’, and to achieve if not a good divorce then at least a less awful divorce or separation, parents need to realise that if they can work together in relation to what is going to happen to the children, then neither of them will in any sense ‘lose’ the children. Surely collaboration or mediation, whereby from the outset parents agree not to go to court and to do their best to cooperate - often sitting round a table together to find solutions that best suit their particular situation - must be a better way. Inevitably when parties separate there is less money; there is no solution which will enable the parties to be in exactly the same position financially as when together, and inevitably you will be worse off financially. But that does not mean that solutions are impossible. There is generally a way to ensure one way or another that both parents can be adequately rehoused, and in such a way that both parents can have the children staying with them. Most importantly though, if parents can work together in relation to the arrangements for the children, both parents can then play a significant part in the rest of the children’s lives. Every parent will want to be able to attend school events, university graduations, weddings and any other significant family event. You may not be best friends with your ex-partner, but it would be good to be able to attend those joint family occasions after you have separated. So right from the outset there are a lot of good reasons to make a commitment to collaborate in some way. To work out with the help of collaborative lawyers, mediators or other advisers how to arrange your finances so that although you are living separately you can in a way you decide together co-parent the children for the rest of their lives. It has got to be worth making the effort from the outset to do this for yours and your children’s sakes. For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.  
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A child’s dilemma

2 children at the windowI read a fascinating book called ‘The Science of Love and Betrayal’ by Robin Dunbar, all about why people fall in love, is there any scientific or logical reason for this, and does it actually help the development of the human race? It appears not, we do not actually need to fall in love to produce or even raise children, what women really need evidently is a supportive mother/grandmother figure and a few other friends.  As we can produce children without committing to a partner for life, why do we? It seems that humanity has always fallen in and out of love, formed close relationships and spent a good number of years together rearing infants. The book does not really explain why people fall in love or more importantly for my profession why people fall out of love. But they certainly do and it can cause immense pain for the parties and have a massive impact on the children. The child’s dilemma is that while their parents are falling out of love the children generally remain steadfastly in love with both parents. This situation was illustrated for me by a passage in a book where a boy is describing his father leaving his mother. His father had to come back for some items out of the shed a week later. The boy saw that his car was parked by the shed and his mother ran out to try and stop or shout at his dad. The boy positioned himself by the tailgate of the car hoping that his father would think that he was there to help him and his mother would think that he was there to stop his father leaving. To me this summed up the child’s dilemma, the impossible position children are placed in when parents separate. They love both parents, are loyal to both parents and so do not know how to behave. Parents have got to accept that the children do love both parents and so are caught in a dilemma when they separate. They may feel sorry for one parent or that their feelings of love for the other parent are somehow “wrong”. Both parents need to be aware of this and need to reassure the children that it is perfectly ok for them to love and talk about the other parent. Both parents need to allow the children to speak about the other parent in positive terms and to talk through these dilemmas. They need to know that the separation is not their fault and that they are “allowed” to show affection to both parents in either’s presence. Caught in the middle? Parents also need to consider the example they are setting to their children about relationships and how to treat one another; scenes of angry or messy relationships can have lasting detrimental effects upon a child’s outlook of such situations and may result in damaging the child’s future relationships. So falling in and out of love is what we do – we just need to be mindful of the children in the middle. For more information or to discuss further please contact Nicky Gough on 07711 527968 or email info@cotswoldmediation.com.
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