As highlighted by many commentators during the Good Divorce Campaign, last week, 'a good divorce' is a bit of an oxymoron. As family practitioners, we of course recognise that, being at the heart of the divorce process from a professional point of view.
Yet, there are 'better ways' to conduct your divorce and as Good Divorce week drew to a close last Friday, I was reflecting on the wealth of guidance and advice which is now available to separating couples and their families.
No one size fits all solution
Of course, just as every family is different, your marriage and your divorce are unique. There is no 'one-size fits all' solution on marital breakdown, which is why it is so important to get advice and help which is suited to you. Communication is key – with your children, your future ex-spouse and with your lawyer. Mediation and other forms of dispute resolution can be the best solution for some couples, but there will inevitably cases where trust has broken down irreparably and these require a different approach. In each situation, your lawyer's experience and expertise will play a significant role in the outcome.
There are also positives on the horizon. The Government's consultation on 'No Fault Divorce' will close next week, signalling that reform to make the legal process of divorce less acrimonious, is surely just around the corner. Divorce is life-changing, but a 'good divorce' can mean that relationship breakdown is transformed into one of the many stages of family life, rather than invariably signalling the end of it.
Taking ownership of the situation and making use of the information and resources now available is a good start. So whilst an initial response to the apparently paradoxical 'Good Divorce' theme might be sceptical, the reality is that there are genuine steps you can take to make your divorce the 'best' it can be.
On the Withers' website, you can watch a video in which one of my co-partners, Claire Blakemore and a former client, Deborah Fisher, discuss strategies to regain control and achieve the best outcome for yourself and your children. You can read our Good Divorce Week blogs on key issues, such as: minimising the impact of divorce on children; breaking the cycle of arguments during divorce; what your child's school should know and do about your divorce; how to share children's time following separation and; for the more contentious and difficult cases, how to approach conflict in the more challenging scenarios. And there is a wealth of useful advice and resources for separating couples and parents on the Resolution website.