Communication is crucial to a healthy relationship, and the people we are closest to in life are usually the people who help us to solve our problems, whether they are family, friends or partners.
But when a relationship breaks down, the communication is often the first thing to go, making it very difficult to talk things through.
Direct Line conducted research into parents who stay together ‘for the sake of the kids’ when they might otherwise have separated, and found that more than two in five hadn’t even told their partner how they were feeling.
Even if you don’t have children, it can be difficult to raise the subject of separation, but it’s important to put your future happiness first.
If you’re right at the start of divorce proceedings, the lines of communication might be down completely, so make the most of this opportunity to re-establish them.
Under English divorce law you’re required to attend a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting, or MIAM. This assesses whether your case is suitable for mediation.
Mediators are excellent at facilitating communication in difficult circumstances, whether that’s family law proceedings like divorce, or workplace mediation during employee disputes.
We know how to listen to both sides of the story and how to prioritise making amicable progress that treats all involved parties fairly, including any children, other dependants or close friends and family members.
In divorces and civil partnership dissolution where communication has broken down completely, shuttle mediation is an option.
This literally involves passing messages back and forth between the involved parties while they are located in different rooms from one another.
It eliminates face-to-face confrontation and ensures that each party is heard in turn, as each individual message must be read or heard before a reply is sent.
When communication has become extremely strained, stressful or upsetting for one or both parties, shuttle mediation is worth considering, even if it’s only to get beyond a specific short-term impasse before all parties are willing to return to the same room for further talks.
Finally, mediators know how to take your wishes and communicate them effectively to your legal representative so you can get your divorce agreement signed, sealed and rubber stamped.
Until this is done, anything you agree remains only in principle, but your mediator will draw up a written document for you at the end of the mediation process, which can then be made official by what is known as legal consent order.
Even if your separation is amicable and you feel able to communicate with your partner throughout the proceedings, it’s important to make sure your mutual wishes are communicated clearly so a suitable set of proposals can be drafted for you.
Mediation can help to achieve this, while removing the fees and delays associated with divorcing entirely through the courts, and facilitating a more dignified, positive approach to communication for all parties.