The true cost of separation.
Separation & divorce is akin to a roller-coaster. The end of a relationship is such an emotional period in your life and can bring about significant anxiety and concerns. What do you do now? Where will you live? What happens to your house? What about your finances?
The cost of separation is not limited to the financial costs of the legal process. The costs of separation can be much more.
The current emphasis within our legal framework is mediation (or family dispute resolution (FDR)) and what can we (as professionals) do to support you to reach an agreement through mediation? You may be wondering why that is. Why when you have ended a relationship because you can’t get on anymore is there an expectation that you will be able to reach an agreement now? Doesn’t that contradict the very essence of why your relationship ended in the first instance?
Perhaps it does. But more importantly than that though is the fact that we know that you are both still adults. Each and every day you are able to make decisions and reach agreements with other people and so, if we can assist to help take the emotion out of the situation, or to help direct the conversations to keep them focused on the end goal then you should be able to reach a decision at mediation/FDR. You see, mediation/FDR enables you both to have control over the outcome and I know from my experience that when you have control over the outcome the likelihood of those arrangements working for your family are far greater then when a court imposes the decision on you. Nobody wins in that latter scenario. Especially the children.
From the outset mediation/FDR might seem quite expensive but ultimately if you can reach an agreement it will cost you significantly less financially and emotionally than the other options. How? Simple – mediation is a process that can be organised fairly quickly and, for the most part, you have control over when and how it will take place. If you want to reduce costs, online mediation is a great option that allows you to still see each other but equally you won’t have to pay for travel costs for the mediator or yourself. Contrast court or legal costs. In this realm you will have to be available when the court directs, which will mean time off work. You will have to attend court hearings either at the Court or through your solicitor which again will cost you more money and more time. The process can often be long and dragged out. So whilst a lawyer may only ask you for a small amount of money upfront – this will not be the only amount that they ask for if you start Court proceedings.
That being said, you should always make sure you have spoken to a lawyer before you head off for mediation/FDR – knowing what to expect as an outcome is always going to lead you in good stead when you are having discussions. There is nothing worse (especially for your future relationship) than agreeing to something and then walking out and deciding you no longer want to stick by that because you have just been told it could have been a lot more or less. Look at mediation/FDR as the first step to rebuilding the trust that has been abolished. It is the first opportunity that you both have to show each other that you will agree to something and stick by it. It is the first opportunity to show each other and your children that you can “count on me” as a co parent. Court however can have the opposite effect and whilst you may be after pain and punishment then and there, in the long run this will not help those that call you mum and dad.