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We need a process for divorce and separation that promotes better communication

We need a process for divorce and separation that promotes better communication

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

 

Our recently launched campaign is calling for a new divorce process that supports separating couples to communicate more effectively. The current process pits couples against each other and damages their ability to communicate well. A process that supports and promotes communication would be better for everyone and in particular for any children they have. However, the current divorce system creates more tension when lawyers, acting purely for the benefit of their client, come between couples which often pours fuel onto any fire without any voice for the children.

When a relationship is healthy, communication flows easily and conflicts are dealt with quickly. It’s not surprising that when a relationship breaks down communication becomes difficult with emotions running high, it can become very damaging or cease completely. It’s one of the reasons we dedicate a whole week of our eight-week course to giving people skills to improve their communication in the midst of a breakup.

Why does communication with my ex matter? The relationship is over!

Even when a relationship has ended you may still need to resolve financial issues, sell property, undergo a divorce process and you will need to continue to co-parent your children (if you have children) for many years.

The way you communicate may need to change but if you want to limit the damage the breakup causes you and any children and reduce what you spend on solicitors and court fees, finding a new way to communicate well is essential.

It matters for your wellbeing

Better communication with your ex, however much they may have hurt you, benefits you. The fewer heated conversations and stressful arguments you have the better for you. Even when we ‘win’ an argument we rarely feel better afterwards because it is still a stressful experience.

It matters for your children

As is brilliantly depicted in this video produced by children’s charity Feagans, parental conflict is very damaging to children. The Institute For Family Studies says “From a very early age—as young as six months, some researchers say—children show distress when their parents fight. Their reactions can include fear, anger, anxiety, and sadness, and they are at higher risk of experiencing a variety of health problems, disturbed sleep, and difficulty in focusing and succeeding at school.” Better communication is at the heart of reducing conflict.

It matters for your finances

Better communication, where both parties listen well and respond calmly and rationally, is far more likely to result in win-win agreements. Reducing conflict through better communication will also reduce the likely cost of your divorce because it will enable you to reach an agreement more quickly with less involvement from legal professionals.

The current process is detrimental to good communication

Although better practices have been emerging with the use of mediators and collaborative law, these routes are not being used well. The normal legal process with solicitors representing one side, often makes it harder for couples to communicate well during a separation or divorce process.

In this process, couples face off against each other. Solicitors’ letters written in very cold, formal, legal language start to arrive with little thought to reducing conflict between a couple. This can further damage a fragile situation and make it harder for couples to communicate for many years to come. On top of this, there is a complete disconnect between the emotional support that separating couples need to prepare themselves for these big discussions and the legal process of dividing their assets and making arrangements for the children.

Maintaining good communication is hard when you’re heartbroken

At the best of times, being a good communicator can be difficult but when you are in the emotional turmoil, which the end of a relationship usually brings, it can feel impossible. The current process expects people to set their feelings aside to deal calmly and rationally with an unfamiliar process. No wonder separations and divorces can become so harrowing and drawn out. At the very moment that you have proven a relationship is broken beyond repair, you have to work together to follow a process in which the stakes are incredibly high.

What is Restored Lives Campaigning for?

Our Change.org campaign is calling for six key changes to the current process including calling for – a new divorce process that supports communication between a couple and creates a positive structure at every stage for resolving issues successfully.

If this resonates with you and you would like to join our campaign please sign the petition at Change.org

What Next?

Are you or is someone you know going through a breakup? Or perhaps they have been separated or divorced and are still struggling with the fallout? Register for our next online course.

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