By Peter Jones, founder of Jones Myers family law specialist
A good marriage and a “good divorce” might sound like extreme opposites – however both can hinge on critical common factors which can pave the way for a civilised split.
Here are five areas that coincide in a good marriage and a “good” divorce.
1 Put your children first
The needs and sensitivities of children should be at the heart of a good marriage and the focus of a break up. Avoid arguing or criticising each other in front of them and reassure them that they are loved by both parents. Most importantly, if you are separating, reassure your children over and over again that it is not their fault.
2 Communicate effectively
Communicating openly, honestly and frequently are the foundations of a strong marriage where couples make time to catch up after a long working day or week and take a genuine interest in each other’s career or personal developments. It is equally vital for estranged spouses to maintain an effective dialogue, understand how the other might be feeling in the light of separation, and, when children are involved, work out a parenting plan which improves the chances of resolving problems together, reducing conflict and boosting trust.
- Be a good listener
At any stage of any relationship, if both people make the effort to pay attention to what their partner has to say and understand their concerns, they will undoubtedly boost their relationship. Listening to each other is as equally important in a good marriage as in a “good” divorce and can enhance cooperation, solutions and empathy. Concentrate on the content rather than on the style of delivery!
- Remain civilised and dignified
Venting frustrations through barbed and hurtful comments and point scoring exacerbates any situation – whether couples are in the throes of wedded bliss or receiving their decree absolute. It is always advisable to seek out non-confrontational and less stressful routes such as physical exercise and other hobbies to alleviate tensions.
- Seek professional help
Many marriages benefit from legal and financial advice at different stages – as well as relationship counselling. It is also important to enlist professional guidance and support as early as possible in a divorce and a relationship coach may be able to establish if a split can be avoided. A trusted independent trusted third party can often help you resolve issues, whether in the good marriage or the “good” divorce.
Choose a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution. The organisation’s 6,500 members include lawyers and other professionals who are committed to a constructive and non-confrontational approach to dealing with divorce and family matters.Even if issues are particularly complex and require a judge or an arbitrator to make a decision, a lawyer who follows Resolution’s code of practice will avoid an unnecessarily aggressive approach.
About Peter Jones
Peter Jones is one of the country’s leading divorce and family lawyers. A qualified arbitrator and mediator, Peter set up Jones Myers as the first niche family law firm in the north of England in 1992 and has acted for a string of high-profile clients.
Renowned for his sympathetic approach, he is a former national chairman of Resolution, a former Deputy District Judge – and instigated the D5 Group of law firms that promotes excellence in family law.