Collaborative Lawyer, August
Here we are, six months on from one of the most difficult times of our lives; when we decided to ‘formally’ separate after 28 years of marriage. It took a few years to come to this and to face the reality (at least, for me) that the ‘dreaded settlement’ had to be addressed and our separation, leading to divorce, needed to be acted upon. There is only so long one can avoid the troubles in one’s life and then the day must come – change must be made.
I had been burying my head in the sand for so long, thought I could never face it, I was very scared, worried and lonely. It was my husband who was first introduced to the idea of considering the Collaborative Process and, although I was still unwilling to even talk about it with him, or with anyone, I met with Bev Clark in February this year. I have never looked back, not for a moment. When I recall all the things she and I discussed six months ago, the terrible place I was in, the help and advice she gave to me – I can only describe it as being the major turning point in my life. I feel liberated and at ease with everything we have decided to do, we faced everything we were worried about and we were led through such a sad experience by two experienced, open and compassionate people.
If you are thinking, as I previously was, that the only way to go through a settlement and divorce is through that long agonising process of miscommunications, confusion, distrust, which many people experience for years, unnecessarily, then stop and re-consider. It does not have to be like that. We had open and honest meetings with all parties at the same table, discussing all view points and exploring possible options and coming to agreements in an amicable way. Don’t think it’s impossible to do – as I too had many times when I was feeling angry and bitter and would never have thought we would go through this in an amicable way. But we did! We were able to have everyone’s interests at heart not forgetting our two children who are the most important part of this.
I don’t pretend that the upset and hurt magically disappears. Of course we were both unhappy and both having to deal with very raw emotions while making such important decisions about our lives and our children. However, within only five weeks we had our signed financial agreement completed. No court attendance to add further stress, less fees and less strain on the family.
It might seem unlikely for some, everyone’s circumstances are different but we can at least say that we’ve done the best we can for our children’s benefit. We are all still on good speaking terms and regularly have family ‘Skype’ calls (my husband is working overseas) and the grandparents, although dismayed and unhappy for us, they’re all equally involved in our lives.
The hardest part and the uncertainty have come to an end for us now, although we haven’t actually processed the divorce yet, but somehow that doesn’t feature as much anymore. We had to first face up to the pain of the separation and all that goes with it. That’s when the help is needed and I firmly believe the Collaborative Process was the best decision we made together. The rest seems to be flowing in a natural course of events and we will sign that little piece of ‘divorce’ paper in good time, but feel the pressure of that doesn’t exist anymore. 28 years of marriage stands for much more than that thankfully.
We both feel relief about the agreement we’ve reached, knowing we’ve done the best for the family but also that we have come through this as civilized, caring people. It’s a great feeling and anyone can achieve it too.
Thank you and with my kindest regards,