As a metropolitan city, Manchester has plenty in common with New York – the streets of the Northern Quarter have even doubled for the gridiron city blocks of the Big Apple on more than one occasion for film and television.
So our Manchester mediators are watching carefully for the first signs of the ‘divorce selfie’ trend making its way across the Atlantic.
The craze is already relatively popular on the Eastern seaboard of the USA, as a way for couples to celebrate the amicable nature of their divorce or separation, and to take pride in their ability to handle the process like adults.
It sees couples sign their decree nisi papers to finalise their divorce, before posing together for a happy snap to share with their friends via social networks like Twitter or Instagram.
The point is not to celebrate the fact that they have got divorced, by any means, but just to demonstrate that their separation does not mean the end of their friendship, or at least their ability to be comfortable in one another’s company.
This is even more significant for couples with children, for whom an amicable separation can mean the difference between a great deal of heartache, and a relatively ‘normal’ family future for the kids.
Although a divorced mum and dad will mean the end of the traditional family home life, an ability to work together on parenting decisions – and even simple things like sitting together at school plays or sports events – can retain a sense of that kind of normality for the children.
It’s also a typically Millennial approach to an otherwise turbulent life stage, as separating couples are now able to celebrate coming through a divorce in a relatively positive way.
Divorce selfies are just the most visible aspect of this, and couples are finding other ways to celebrate their separation, in some cases even by throwing a joint ‘divorce party’ for their mutual friends and families.
Even where children are not involved in the divorce, this reassures grown-up friends that they will not be expected to choose a side in the separation, as the couple are able to remain not just civil to one another, but often as firm friends for the future.
All of this is a positive and powerful trend that speaks to the heart of the mediation process, which aims to keep things as amicable as possible throughout divorce proceedings, so it’s quite possible that our Manchester mediators will soon be asked to act as amateur photographers, snapping the ‘happy couple’ on the biggest day of their lives since their marriage began.