Good Divorce Week – an oxymoron?

I should start out by saying that I support Good Divorce Week, particularly as I am a member of Resolution, and as such I am committed to approaching family law issues in a constructive and non-confrontational way.

Good Divorce week runs all of this week from 29 November – 3 December. This year the focus is very much on the impact of divorce on children but can you ever have a 'good divorce'?

Is that an oxymoron?

Does this put pressure on those for whom this is simply not an option, such as:

  • Those who are in abusive marriages.
  • Those who have spouses who display symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Those who have children who have been abused by their spouse.

The list could go on…

There is no doubt that going through a divorce is difficult for everyone, and the extent of how hard it is will often rest on the personalities involved, the impact of loss of love for one or both, the sense of failure, the way each person behaves during and after the marriage, whether abuse in any form existed in the marriage. This list is not exhaustive.

What can be said in most, if not all cases, is that the children are unwilling participants, often dragged into the adult issue of separation through no choice of their own, sometimes used as pawns and this can invariably be damaging for them and their relationships with one or both parents going forward.

So like many things, the question of whether Good Divorce Week is in fact an oxymoron could be argued either way.

I’ve concluded that perhaps it’s not a one size fits all situation but rather a helping hand to those who can separate in a 'good' way, at least for the good of their children. Even if it is an oxymoron surely if even one family benefits from trying to divorce amicably that would help?

For those for whom a 'Good Divorce' is simply not possible for the reasons already mentioned please do not think that you have failed or that you should have done better. That is not the point of this initiative and your sensitive situation needs to be navigated carefully and with the benefit of an experienced legal advisor who can ensure that you and your children are safe.  That is more important than a 'Good Divorce'.

The Resolution website is an immense source of information for those who are experiencing family law issues and in particular the Parenting Through Separation Guide, which can be downloaded as a PDF using this link.

Divorce is the first step in the rest of your lives and whilst it’s hard to see beyond the divorce, there are possibly years together to navigate as parents. It’s easy to lose sight of that when emotions are high and separation is new.

My top three tips are:

  • Find a lawyer who is an accredited member of Resolution;
  • Put your children front and centre and try to envisage your family life in the future. Take small steps : three months, six months, a year, two years and so on.
  • Stay safe.

Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to clients of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

Who to contact

Grainne
Fahy

Partner , London

View full profile >