I have had so many conversations with people recently who want to sort out issues that arise from their separation, but feel that they simply cannot commit to paying anything for mediators, lawyers, or other professional services at the current times. It is often the case that budgets are constrained during a separation. You just about made ends meet in one house, how on earth will you stretch what you have to provide two homes? Such concerns have greatly increased with coronavirus and what feels like a relentless tale of furloughs, redundancies, work drying up and financial concerns.
As a mediator in any situation my approach is to look at what I know that might help. There is such a wealth of information on the blog on this website but time constraints may prevent people from searching through posts for what they need. So I had the idea to bring together the ultimate blog post to provide information about various different aspects of separation so people could work from this and find guidance on whatever the issue might be.
I hope that dividing it into sections makes it easier to find the help you need. If you can’t find something on what you need then please contact us because we may be able to direct you to help, or write a further blog with additional help.
I’ve also linked to other professionals’ guidance in the links below. This is not about just promoting our services but about helping those that need it to access resources that will help them.
Sorting out the money is often the most difficult bit of a separation because people get very confused about whether they should work out what they’re getting financially first or work out what they need first. There can also be many questions about what is the “right” way forward. The bottom line is that whatever resolution you put in place you both need to be housed, and you both need to be able to make ends meet, and this can require some creative thinking.
When people talk about getting divorced they often mean sorting out all the issues that arise from their divorce but in a strict legal sense the divorce is only the process of legally ending your marriage. It doesn’t sort out any issues relating to money, or your children.
Making arrangements for Children
When you separate it’s important to focus on how this might affect your children and how you can minimise the conflict they are exposed to as much as possible. It can also help to give some thought to practical arrangements once you have physically separated such as when children will be with mum and when they’ll be with dad; how you’ll share the school holidays; and how you might spend special occasions like Christmas, their birthdays and mothers’ day and father’s day.
This video looks at a simple way to think about co-parenting and to cut away some of the pressures. It’s a video made by Louisa Whitney from LKW Family Mediation and Una Archer. Una is a psychologist who works with parents to help them minimise the effects of their separation on their children,
This is information for separating parents about a co-parenting program from CAFCASS who get involved in court dispute about children. Their guidance is about their positive co-parenting program and not just about court proceedings so worth a look
This link has lots of information for separating parents and is put together by an organisation that promotes dealing with issues in a constructive way with children’s needs at the top of the agenda (called Resolution)
A large percentage of our mediation clients tell us that most of the issues they have all stem from problems in communication and improving communication often comes up for discussion in mediation meetings so we have included it as a specific section for help in this post.
Feel like you’re struggling?
Divorce or Separation is said to be the second most stressful life event that people go through and so you should now that it’s absolutely OK not to be OK at this difficult time. Self-care is hugely important, as is moving at a pace that is right for you. Below is guidance for looking after yourself and dealing with wobbles at this challenging time.
Worried about having to return to work after a separation?
In this guest blog Claire Gardner from CG Executive Coaching gives her tips (from a professional and personal perspective) for looking at a return to work following a separation. Her contact details are included so you can access help from her. The blog may also be useful if you’re looking at increasing your hours or wanting to substantially increase your income as a result of your separation.
If you have experienced violence or abuse in your relationship then the following links may assist you. Remember that abuse is not always violence and it can take the form of emotional or financial abuse or coercive control.
Restored is a charity supporting Christian woman fleeing abuse. They have a handbook that you can obtain free as a victim of abuse that deals with all aspects of abuse including a section on reconciling your faith with divorce.
Your sanctuary is a charity based in Woking that supports victims of domestic abuse
Victim Support has information about different types of abuse and links to other sources of help
If you’d like to find a lawyer online then use this link. You can use the advanced search to find someone who specialises in issues concerning a particular area such as abuse, issues relating to children or money. You can also use it to find a family mediator, or you can do this through the Family Mediation Council.
We also have a free Facebook group called Soulful Separation Support which is a safe space for those going through a separation to get support from others in similar situations, as well as professionals who can offer guidance on particular issues. We also have a free mailing list where we send out useful resources a couple of times a month.
Rhiannon Ford, an experienced divorce coach, is offering 30 minute clinic sessions on a Friday for £50 to give guidance to those who are separating or thinking of separating and feeling a bit stuck. Have a look at her information and you can book here
Onlydads and Only mums offer support to separating and separated parents. You can also obtain a copy of their helpful book “101 questions answered about separating with children”, that features many contributions by experts in this field.
We hope that this blog is useful and that it can guide you towards some free or inexpensive help that will help you to at least make a start on resolving things. We know that stuck can lead to a difficult place and a multitude of negative emotions so having a clear path and feeling like you’re making some progress (however small) is really important.