Advice for a friend who is separating or divorcing

If your friend is divorcing, what could you say that would be helpful?

As a family mediator I hope that the parents or spouses I am helping are getting support from friends and family during their separation.  Sometimes that support is unwanted, sometimes it is not enough, but if you ever find yourself being asked to give a friend support, some top tips to pass on would be:-


·      Consider counselling (sole or couple) to be sure the decision is the right one for you. Even if this does not “save “ the relationship, the process could give you some clarity and potentially start the separation on a good basis which could last into the future with improved communication for you both.


·      Take your time before making any irreversible decisions.  Think about the pro’s and con’s.  These are not decisions to be rushed and sometimes the short-term decisions made can have a longer-term impact which was not intended.


·      Understand your legal rights.  Get some initial legal advice and understand the law and options. Be able to make informed decisions. Don’t use your lawyer as a counsellor or support tool.


·      Don’t sweat the small stuff, pick your battles.  There may be many things you would like to fight about with your ex, but will any of those issues change how things will look for you in the future?


·      Think about what your children are hearing and seeing.  Divorce and separation of parents doesn’t harm our children, but the way parents manage the process and fall out, can. Read the Resolution Separated Parents Guide and FYJB top tips for separated parents.


·      Collate your financial documentation and keep it organised.  Start looking at what you are spending/earning saving so that you have a clear idea about your financial circumstances. Think about what your aims and goals are so you clearly articulate it when asked by a lawyer and/or mediator.


·      Talk to experts (legal, financial etc).  Talk to friends and family who you trust and know you well.  Listen to suggestions, perspectives and ideas, but remember these are your decisions and need to feel right to you and work for you and your family.


·      When you are ready, look at plans for where you might live, what the plans might look like in practice for the children etc.  Be realistic and sensible and open to alternatives.


·      Think about ways to discuss options with your ex without doing this through court (e.g. mediation, collaborative practice, solicitor led negotiation etc).


If you would like to find out if mediation could help, why not book a free call using the online booking facility on our website – or send us an email . You could also call us on 0800 206 2258.

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