7 Questions to Ask

The reason many people do not even think about getting ready for a divorce is because they operate under the assumption that the sooner you can get out of a stressful situation the better. There is therefore a natural tendency for people who are in difficult relationship to want to get the separation over with as quickly as possible in order to move on with their lives. Family and friends often encourage this as well.

Quite often people make quick agreements which they cannot sustain, and instead of the situation getting better, they often find that they have just traded one set of problems for another, often getting tangled up in lengthy court cases and the very thing they hoped for, a quick divorce, often takes years.

For separation to be a respectful process, the couple must be prepared and ready to separate their lives on all levels; legally, practically and emotionally.

Many people who say they want to end their relationship still have strong feelings for their partner, but due to an ongoing power struggle in the relationship there is a lack of intimacy and closeness. If this is you, it might be an option to work on your relationship prior to deciding to separate. There are excellent relationship and adult counseling services available to assist you in this. Please contact your local NFM mediation provider for further information.

Separation is often threatened, especially in heated relational arguments whether out of anger and frustration to gain power and control over the other person, to get them to see things your way or to finally be taken seriously that about wanting real change. People who consistently threaten separation lose credibility with themselves and their partner.

To be ready to end your relationship means being able to make a clear, unemotional decision that you can support over time. Separation means being able to let go of all strong emotional attachments to the other person, the loving ones as well as the hostile and hurtful ones. Emotionally charged decisions do not last and if acted on do not resolve the underlying problem.

Think through the reasons why you might not want to separate from your partner. Separating couples often forget to consider a plethora of reasons which might make it more constructive to stay together, however unpleasant the ordeal may appear. These factors may include the level of conflict in the family home and the negative effect this is having upon any children in the house.

Making the decision to stay in a troubled relationship can be just as difficult as choosing to leave. Weighing up all the issues can sometimes be totally overwhelming but ultimately, you are the only one that can make the decision. It may be helpful to talk to someone you trust or seek assistance from a family mediator in an information meeting to clarify your thoughts, seek out your options and get valuable information which can assist you to make a decision.

People who decide to end relationships often find that their partners are angry and resentful. This can be even more of a problem if you want to stay in the home and have asked your partner to leave. If your partner does not agree you may need to get legal advice about how you can remain in your home.

Deciding what you want, both now and in the future, is very important. If you co-own your home, your long-term goal may be to buy out your partner so you can live in your house in the future. There is also provision in the law to be legally separated under one roof.. It is important to get legal advice about how to go about this and it will of course depend on whether you can negotiate with your partner

To know if you are ready, ask yourself if you are prepared for the following changes:

  • Financial, lifestyle and / or traditional
  • Times of insecurity, fear, loneliness and the unknown
  • Letting your partner go mentally, emotionally and physically
  • Schedule and routines, especially where your children might be involved
  • Preparation for an increased level of involvement, support and interaction with your children

Separation is a bigger deal than many people think. Though it may not be as final as divorce, separating from your spouse carries a wide range of legal and emotional repercussions.

Couples who make rushed decisions to end their relationship have had no time to evaluate their feelings, thoughts or options. As a result they are unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions, the complicated legal system and the many life changing decisions that they need to make.

Whether you are the one who wants the separation or the one who is having to respond to your partner wanting to end the relationship, both situations have one thing in common: the relationship is ending. How people respond to this fact determines the type of separation and future they will have. They can come from a position of bitterness, revenge or helplessness or they can negotiate for their future from a position of strength, understanding and respect.

It is our experience that people who prepare themselves by considering all the legal, emotional, practical and financial issues are more likely to have a collaborative separation. By starting the process in this way, they are able to make lasting agreements with each other, resolve their difficulties and develop parenting plans that both support the children and respects each other's rights.

Many people have families, friends or supportive networks they can turn to, at least in the short term, when they leave their home.

Others do not and for most people, the need to choose a new place to live is one of the most important decisions they will have to make. In weighing up housing options, you will need to think carefully about your financial situation.

If you decide to move out of your home, neighbourhood or community you will also need to consider the impact this may have on your life. This may result in losing the support of your local networks, as well as having the potential upheaval of changing jobs or your children’s schools.

National Family Mediation (NFM) is a network of professional family mediation providers based in England and Wales that work with families affected by relational breakdown. All providers aim to help clients achieve an outcome that works best for them and their family

National Family Mediation (NFM) services charge £25-£100 for a MIAM, depending on geographical locality, which may include the fee for the completed FM1 form. Meetings usually last for 45 minutes – 1 hour. This includes the means assessment to check whether you will be eligible for Legal Aid, determining whether your mediation will be free or not. Mediation sessions which follow the initial MIAM are charged at a sliding scale according to income, but start at around £80 per session, and usually last up to 1½ hours.

If you would like to get more information about mediation and/or make an appointment you can contact NFM direct on 0300 4000 636 or you can contact a NFM family mediation provider in your area.

All services also take referrals from Solicitors, the court or other helping / support agencies.

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