From what I read in the papers about Tom Cruz and Katie Holmes, it sounds like the lawyers have been lined up and the battle for custody of a young child is beginning. It’s the same story we’ve heard and seen many times.
The divorce of two people is hard enough but for two people in the public eye it’s so much harder. Any issue is magnified 100 times in the street gossip and one small remark sends the editors into heaven about possible reasons or consequences. These things will have an impact on how their divorce will play out – but who knows what is true in the midst of journalists’ pre-conceived ideas and PR teams trying to quash untruths as well as make their client look good.
What is clear is that this is another desperate moment when a family is being ripped apart. The difference is that we can all talk about it and have a view.
For one person, it looks like a huge shock. He has been hit by something he didn’t see and will be trying to work out what happened (see blog on 27 May on shock). Hopefully those feelings subside quickly but at the same time he is trying to work and live his daily life whilst his mind may be living amongst the events of the past.
For the other person, it appears she may have started the journey of separation and divorce a while ago. She may have been battling with her emotions for a long time and has now decided that enough is enough. She has acted and started the process to separate their lives formally.
Often the two sides of a divorce story are so different from each person’s perspective. I have sometimes heard two divorcing people talk about their separation and struggled to understand that it is actually the same story.
The problem is that this “same story” continues. They will have an ongoing relationship with their daughter and step children and it is crucial that the process of divorce does not kill this ongoing relationship.
This means that it is imperative that the tools used to separate the marriage should be able to encourage their ongoing communication together. It needs a mutual friend to come in as a go-between or a professional mediator facilitating their communication.
I hope they don’t go for the lawyer and court route as it naturally asks the question “what are my clients rights” not “what is best for our children and our ongoing relationship”. Of course lawyers are important in the process, but their “same story” needs to be helped and nurtured through this difficult time.
I hope that it becomes a great story: a story of great communication and understanding.