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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
This week 28 November to 2 December is ‘Good Divorce Week’, a national awareness campaign spearheaded by Resolution and I am fascinated by what is meant by a ‘good divorce’.
Some may say that divorce can never be ‘good’ if it contravenes their belief system, religious or otherwise. Others might muse that it is a contradiction in terms, good being a positive term meaning decent, virtuous, worthy or blameless, divorce meaning separating, breaking, splitting with all the negative connotations those terms might suggest. For some though, divorce can be a blessed relief – an ending to a very unhappy time in their life and an opportunity to re-invent their future. It would be interesting to ask some of the many people I talk to about their relationship breakdown if they felt their divorce was ‘good’, I think those who have instigated the ending of a relationship are far more likely to say yes than the partner who has been left.
So do I believe in a ‘no fault’ divorce which might be deemed as ‘good’? Is it possible for two people to both agree in an amicable way that their relationship has come to an end and that it is time to part and that they will support each other throughout the divorce process in order that the best outcomes are achieved for both of them? Well, yes I do, although it takes certain sorts of people in certain sorts of circumstances to achieve this.
In my experience most people end a relationship after a specific event e.g. an infidelity whether that is a ‘fling’ or long term affair. They may have been unhappy for some time, maybe not feeling able to discuss their unhappiness with their partner, but clinging on to the hope that things will change and get better. Unfortunately things don’t normally get better unless you are able to discuss issues with your partner which may instigate some behavioural changes. Therefore if you can’t or choose not to talk, then one or the other of you may choose to create circumstances which may bring about the end of the relationship.
However, if you have been able to discuss why the relationship isn’t working with your partner, using whatever medium is appropriate, and collaboratively reached the sad conclusion that you no longer want to be with one another, then maybe the ‘no fault’ divorce is for you.
‘No fault’ divorces offer the opportunity to keep issues out of the court room, encouraging collaborative discussions in the presence of legal representatives about the financial split and co-parenting. Acrimony has no place in these discussions and success relies on the two separating partners remaining adult and civilised about the whole procedure. This, I believe, can only be managed when the two are in agreement that they no longer fit together and that they don’t want the same things in the future. It takes a brave couple to part in this way, as of course, there will still be a very natural, normal emotional response to the demise of their relationship but with the right support in place it can be achievable.
In my opinion to be able to create this sort of ending very much qualifies as a ‘good divorce’.
If you would like advice on divorce or seperation please contact myself or one of the team here. Also if you are seperated with children why not join us for my work shop - Creating Christmas Memories for Children with Two Homes link to book here.