Approaching your partner to discuss a possible separation or divorce is a huge step. Indeed, the vast majority of our clients here at Family Law in Partnership find the prospect of this initial conversation daunting, especially when they are a family of more than two. We have put together our top tips based on the experience of our clients which we hope you will find helpful:
A Time and A Place
There is never a right time or a right place for approaching the subject of separation or divorce. However it is best to choose a moment which will be without interruption. For example, if you have children, perhaps arrange for them to be with family or friends, away from the home where most likely, the discussion will take place. Importantly, allow enough time to have a proper discussion so that neither of you feel rushed and both of you can speak about how you feel.
Not only will you want to know broadly what you are going to say but you need to be prepared for what your partner’s reaction will be. Nine times out of 10, the whole experience will be easier than you first imagined but it is important to know what you want to say and explain why you have these feelings. The initial conversation does not want to seem rigid to the point it has been rehearsed as this may cause further upset, so it is important to be tactful, respectful but clear. You may want to seek guidance from an expert like a counsellor or therapist. Our in-house therapist Jo Harrison has a wealth of experience in working with individuals and couples in exploring their options whether this be to help plan a way forward or provide support alongside any legal process.
Avoid getting into too much detail and listen
It can be tempting to get ahead of yourself and often in times of worry or anxiety, we begin to juggle up all possible scenarios in our head and this can be very overwhelming. Take the time to listen to your partner’s viewpoint without jumping to conclusions. It is essential that both of you understand the process ahead. If you are both firmly of the view that a divorce or formal separation is the way forward then it is beneficial at the outset to each secure an independent family lawyer who can clarify where you stand and what your options may be. We often advise that any formal legal discussions or negotiations take place between solicitors to negate any awkwardness or uncomfortable discussions. Our team of specialist family lawyers are here to guide you through each step.
Seek alternative assistance
Both of you will be experiencing an array of emotions. It is important to establish the fact that because you are parting, it does not mean you have to work against each other in order to do so. It may be that you would feel comfortable as a couple to try mediation. Mediation is a great forum in which to have open discussions facilitated by an experienced mediator who acts as a neutral party. Dominic Raeside is our Head of Mediation and is firmly of the view that whilst separation and divorce is often a difficult and painful transition, it does not have to destroy a family. See here Dominic’s helpful tips in approaching a first mediation session: https://flip.co.uk/top-ten-tips-for-your-first-mediation-meeting/.
No one person’s situation is the same and at Family Law in Partnership we understand that the needs of each individual client are different. We strive to make the experience of family change better so our clients can successfully move forward with their lives. Our comprehensive practice covers both traditional and alternative methods of dispute resolution including litigation, solicitor led negotiation, mediation, arbitration and the collaborative approach.
If you are thinking of a divorce or separation and would like to know more about how our top London divorce lawyers and mediators can help you, please contact us today at E: email@example.com or T: 020 7420 5000.