If people find themselves in a difficult situation, the natural instinct is to escape and leave it behind as quickly as possible. While this is understandable, when it comes to relationships, rash decisions and actions can cause damage that can be impossible for those affected to overcome. Here are our tips to a “Good Separation”:
1) THOUGHT AND PLANNING
This can be the biggest challenge for anyone, especially when in the heat of a particular moment, but the key to successfully negotiating trouble in a relationship is to think about the situation, learn about the options available and plan the way forward.
Talking through your personal situation and feelings with a professional who can assess the implications of your separation and explain the processes and legalities involved can give you the perspective and understanding to make the most sensible decisions.
If you do decide to go ahead, then you need to find a solicitor to look after you and your interests. Finding the right person is crucial, so if you don’t feel comfortable asking people you know for recommendations make sure you research firms and individuals online for reviews and comment. Good solicitors should meet before you agree to them representing you, so feel free to ask questions about how they work, who they work with and what they would do for you.
2) COMMUNICATE WITHOUT EMOTION
Dealing with finances, sharing assets and discussing parental rights and responsibilities is very difficult, but they are made a lot worse with hostility and anger. Mediation Now uses a variety of tools, frameworks and processes to enable successful discussion between couples, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
We recommend that the people we work with find a way of venting their emotion either through counselling or talking to friends and family, so that when partners meet, they can “get down to business.”
It is very rare that both parties leave a relationship with everything they want. Some things will be achieved, others will have to be let go. By talking things through, you can prioritise and often be surprised at how what was initially important turns out to be far less of a “dealbreaker” that you thought.
Children are very intuitive and no matter how good a job you think you are doing of shielding them from what is going on, they will pick up on it. The worst thing you can do is allow them to draw their own conclusions and potentially blame themselves, so keep children in the loop with what is happening.
If you have decided to separate, make sure that they and any teachers, group leaders and care providers are kept informed of developments. Mediation Now’s “Changing Lives” programme has been designed to teach parents how to support their children through separation and divorce and we also run ‘Child Consultations’ free of charge to give them a voice in the Mediation Process.
5) MOVING ON
Once the terms of a divorce have been agreed and a Court Order has been issued, it is up to you to make it work. Focus on the positive and moving forward rather than what happened and anything you may have had to leave behind. Parents should concentrate on getting on for their children and whilst it may be difficult at the start, most couples find it gets easier over time.
Some people find on-going support useful in the early stages of a new chapter, and we are proud to work with qualified professional, Neil Hawkins, on helping our clients move forward with their lives.