Divorce, historically, has not been a friendly process. The old image of matrimony-turned-acrimony with lawyers fighting over the family assets is not helped by English divorce laws that have meant somebody usually has to take the blame.
Now with no-fault divorce finally on the horizon and much shorter separation periods required by the proposed legislation, we could finally be moving towards an era of much more amicable divorce.
The positive impact of cultural evolution
There are other influencing factors helping to get us to that point, including the current generation’s much greater willingness to discuss the kinds of emotions that their parents and grandparents preferred to lock away.
High-profile amicable celebrity divorces have also set a new standard for ‘conscious uncoupling’, a term brought into common usage by Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow in 2014.
Five years on, it is increasingly common to hear famous couples announce their separation in positive terms, citing the time pressures of their careers, a desire to live in different locations, and/or plans to remain the best of friends for the future.
Although we are not all Hollywood power couples, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an amicable divorce too, and that is what divorce mediators are here to help with.
Mediation facilitates mutual progress through a divorce
Mediators work to facilitate the open exchange of ideas and opinions, without taking sides – an independent voice to overcome any problems and keep things moving forwards as amicably as possible.
The result is a faster, lower cost and lower stress divorce process, with court time minimised and a good chance to find a compromise that suits all parties, instead of leaving it to a judge to divide the family assets according to the letter of the law.
MIAM protects families from negative impact
Spring 2019 also marks five years since royal assent was given to the Children and Families Act 2014, which made it mandatory to attend a mediation, information and assessment meeting, or MIAM, before commencing certain family law proceedings including divorce.
At the time, Family Justice and Civil Liberties Minister Simon Hughes said: “We want to keep families away from the negative effects that going to court can have and to use alternative solutions when they are suitable.
“This is why we have changed the law to make sure that separating couples always consider mediation as an alternative to a courtroom battle.”
Half a decade on from that, more and more couples are becoming conscious uncouples, amicably resolving issues like division of assets and shared parental responsibilities for better outcomes for themselves and their children post-divorce.