Your finances are divided, your assets have been sorted and joint decisions that everyone is satisfied with have been made. This time can be tough but instead it should be taken to congratulate yourself about the achievements you have made in resolving your issues and getting through such a difficult experience.
Aside from helping to reduce the cost, complexity and time taken by divorce proceedings, in the best outcomes mediation can help to restore communication and even to help you appreciate each other’s experience and understanding of past events.
One of the best ways to co-parent after divorce is to continue to let your child’s voice be heard on issues that directly affect them – and even on broader issues that impact on the whole family.
Many young people can feel torn apart by divorce, and especially if both parents move out of the former family home due to financial concerns or bad memories of the place, this can leave children trying to settle into two new homes at once.
You can help them to do this by making sure both locations are ‘home’ to them – not that one parent is home while the other is just somewhere they visit once a week.
Give your child responsibility over what belongings and clothing they keep in each location, and don’t insist that everything they take with them for a visit comes back from the same trip.
Obviously there are practical concerns, such as making sure they have enough clothing in each place, but it is empowering to ask them “Can you bring…?” ahead of their next handover, rather than closely policing which clothes are where at all times.
Ultimately, co-parenting at its best puts the child’s welfare first anyway, within the broader context of your household setting, finances and so on.
Any divorce redefines your relationship with one another, whether you choose to never speak again, or you would prefer to remain on civil or even friendly terms – and this is often influenced in part by any children you might have together.
But because this sense of change is inevitable during a separation, it is also an ideal time to renew the lines of communication so that you can move forwards positively not just during the divorce, but in the years that follow too.
Again, mediators can help you to do this, and however acrimonious things may have been in the recent past, finalising your divorce can draw a line under that and allow you to return to more civility surprisingly quickly.
There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the good aspects of a relationship even at a time when you are legally separating from one another – it can help to put things into perspective and focus proceedings on the negotiations that need to be made.
Mediators know that all the involved parties are people with feelings, emotions and hopes for the future, and mediation is the process by which everyone is given the best possible chance for positive change.
In cases where mediators are involved from the start, this can allow the entire divorce to take place quite amicably, without getting into a stalemate situation over an important issue, or even over something trivial where a compromise just cannot be found.
Even if your divorce is already well underway, you can call in a mediator to advise on any impasses, to help you to get back on to the right track and to ensure that when all the negotiating is done, you are able to divorce with dignity still intact.
Marcia Mediation, based in Greater Manchester, is a child-inclusive family mediation specialist, run by Marcia Lister, a qualified family lawyer, mediator and qualified child consultant. Marcia aims to maintain dignity throughout divorce or separation, having worked as a mediator since 2004, on divorce, civil partnership and separation cases. If you would like any further information on how mediation could benefit you throughout your separation or divorce please click here.