Divorce Agony Aunt Francine Kaye – June 2011
Q : Our Mediation process just keeps breaking down.
We are both so keen to do this without laywers but just keep getting into the same arguments – please help!
A: Well, this does not surprise me ‘Angela’. Both of you are hurt and upset and you are bringing the same upsets to the mediation as you had in your relationship. Unless you can control your emotional temperature, you’ll repeat the same patterns whilst hoping for a different outcome. The chances are you will end up spending thousands of pounds with lawyers when all you really need is some very simple skills to cope with your conflicts.
When your partner says something that you feel you want to justify and defend, take a deep breath and simply reflect back what he is saying. Something like ‘so what you are saying is… ‘, and repeating back what he is saying, will allow him to experience being listened to. You don’t have to agree with him.
Then when its your turn to speak, he is more likely to take a moment to listen to you. Imagine being able to talk so your partner will listen an listen so your partner will talk. On the Divorce with Dignity Programme you’ll easily learn how to avoid the upset, energy, time and, of course, the money you are wasting spending your mediation sessions in conflict.
Q:My friends ex husband is using their children as a ‘weapon’ against her.
He is mentally abusive and has been both mentally and physically abusive in their relationship, plus he has the financial power. What can she do?
Your friend must seek legal advice. If she really cannot pay for it, she may get legal aid. Her local library or Citizens Advice Bureau will have details of a local law firm or she can contact email@example.com for an SOS recommendation. If she has access to a computer she can go on line to find legal aid lawyers, or information on DIY divorce.
The truth is that he cannot keep the children from her and if he is threatening her, its much more likely that he is the one who will lose the kids, especially if she can prove abuse against her by him. Whats more concerning is how she allowed herself to be in relationship with a man like this. Both of them played their part in this relationship and when I work with parting couples, (either individually or together) I help them understand what happened, why it happened and what they must do to ensure this never happens again.
It’s incredible work from which you emerge positively, whilst maintaining your dignity, regaining your identity and with the ability to communicate effectively. Visit Divorce With Dignity and get my free report to give to your friend. You’ll be giving her some of the vital skills she needs to rebuild her confidence and stay buoyant during the divorce process.
Q: Does Mediation work for everyone? My partner, with whom I have three children (9. 12, 16) believes the only way to settle our finances and split our properties and the business we run together here and abroad is with expensive lawyers. She says that she believes I will ‘run rings’ round her, which I have no intention of doing. I have had 2 affairs during our relationship and she is very hurt by this and I believe by using a lawyer she will try and take me to the cleaners. How can I convince her that mediation is better for our relationship going forward?
A: Its pretty hard to convince any one of anything when they feel hurt and betrayed. I can hear your intention’s but sadly the trust between you is ground zero right now. Before embarking on mediation you need support to begin a dialogue together to put some foundations of trust in place. Imagine if you were able to enter the mediation process with a genuine understanding of each other. What would it be like for you both if you each of you understood the reasons you both have behaved the way you did during your relationship? And imagine realising that given the way both of you were raised and socialised, it was inevitable that this relationship would break down at some point?
With that kind of understanding it’s hard to place blame on either party. The only way you can make the mediation process work for you is by gaining that level of understanding, lowering your emotional temperature and learning about your own part in this predicament. Only then will you be ready to mediate effectively about your kids, your finances and your business. If you choose to take the Divorce With Dignity Course it will shine a light on your whole relationship. An added bonus is that once you know this stuff, you’ll be your kids best parents ever as well never making the same mistakes again.
Send you questions to our SOS Divorce Agony Aunt to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call Francine Kaye direct on 0208 416 0121