Divorce, the ‘D’ word is a frequently discussed topic and is often the cause of many bad jokes.
For those of us who have experienced the breakdown of a marriage or a relationship, the event is far from being a joke. It’s a gut wrenching, devastating and a wholly unpleasant experience.
The sad and sorry truth of the matter is that if a partnership or marriage breaks down, there are no winners, just battered, distressed and hurt participants.
Close to half of all marriages in Australia end up in divorce. The figures are similar for de facto relationships.
More and more Australians are experiencing the heartache and distress that flows from a relationship breakdown.
Ending a relationship brings a sense of loss – even if you are prepared. The decision to separate might be your decision or it might be a decision which is forced upon you.
Making the decision to separate is not easy and each of us will deal differently with the event. Always keep in mind that there is help available. Professional family counsellors can assist you to get through this difficult time and of course there are always friends.
So is there such a thing as a successful divorce? What is a successful divorce and what are the ingredients of a successful divorce?
If there is such a thing as a successful divorce then it is clearly not about winning battles. It’s about resolving differences – it’s about managing emotions and not letting emotions get out of control.
Separation and divorce bring a range of emotions – disappointment, a sense of failure, anger and even hatred. Anger and hatred are negative emotions – they usually lead to the destruction of any continuation of a relationship with your spouse or partner.
So I hear you say, ‘What continuing relationship?’ Keep in mind that there are probably those little people called children sitting outside the arena waiting for the adults to get things sorted. Whether you like it or not, both you and your spouse or partner will have a continuing interest in your children. A sound basis for making the best decisions now and for the future of your children will be based in large measure on having at least a working relationship with your spouse or partner.
If there is such a thing as a successful divorce, it is my firmly held belief that such an outcome can best be achieved through the collaborative law process. This is a process which sets out to achieve a quicker and more cost-effective outcome.
In 1968 Tammy Wynette released a song called D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Visit www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/tammywynette/divorce and check out the lyrics.
The song is a poignant story of love gone wrong. The song was released before the collaborative law process gained recognition as an alternative to the court process but what is important about the lyrics is that Tammy identified 2 other ‘D’ words.
The first is about ‘dignity’. A very important element of the collaborative law process is making sure that both you and your spouse or your partner, retain your dignity. This is achieved by making sure that your collaborative lawyer guides you through the process and allows you, along with your spouse or partner, to make decisions as to what is fair and just and what is best for your children.
You and your spouse or partner do not ever give up the right to make decisions – you retain control of the decision-making process from the start to the finish. If the court option is taken up then the decision-making process resides with the court. You are in essence buying a decision maker and you both lose control of the process.
The second is about ‘damage’. If you choose to inflict damage on yourself or your spouse or partner, then that is your call. After all you and your partner are both adults and you are the main participants in the potential disaster called divorce.
Don’t make your children collateral damage. I know you don’t want to – I know that your children are your most valuable assets. I also know that you want to manage and limit any damage in the separation/divorce process because you know that what you and your spouse or partner do at this stage will have a long term impact on the well being of your children.
So let’s get to the core issues – firstly, there are matters relating to the parenting of children and secondly, there are matters relating to the division of your personal wealth and income.
Almost all clients are seeking the same outcome – a formal agreement dealing with parenting and/or financial matters. It is the path taken to achieve that agreement where the differences lie.
Most clients are more than capable of making decisions that relate to their children and their finances. Why is that? Because clients make decisions like that every day. The breakdown of a relationship can just make things more difficult and that is where the guidance of a trained collaborative lawyer can help.
So, before you do anything that you might later regret, sit down and calmly assess your situation. If you need to, take advice from a lawyer or other professionals. Above all, you owe it to yourself and your children. Decisions made in haste are quite often difficult to turn around.
If you want to learn more about the collaborative law process for dealing with separation and divorce then visit our website here.
If you would like to contact Don Gayler then he can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning 07 4124 7100.
If you would like to contact Lesley Powell, a fellow collaborative law practitioner, she can be contacted on email@example.com or by telephoning 07 4125 6333.