Divorcing on Valentine's Day
Divorcing On Valentine’s Day
Because the only worse thing about being single on Valentine’s Day, is NOT being single – but breaking up – UK couples will be able to order a red box version of the Travel Guide for Divorce (with a ribbon) during the Valentine week of 14 February. Is this just a mad marketing ploy – or is such a ‘gift’ ideal for people who feel their relationship is over, but want it to end in a non-aggressive way – and so preserve all those past romantic memories rather trash them onto the courtroom steps?
Will anyone actually buy a red ‘Divorce in a Box‘ for their spouse on Valentine’s Day? Well, let’s see – but the reason behind it being put on offer is more a campaign statement than a realistic marketing ploy.
If the Big Society is to work, then we need to start with ‘the family’. Squashing what we consider a healthy family into a single box with “mummy, daddy + kids” has to stop, if we are to evolve into a co-operative nation where the word ‘support’ becomes associated with our community as a whole, instead of just government institutions like the NHS or the Courts.
I live alone with 3 children – but my family isn’t a ‘broken home’. It’s an extended family.
In the Scottish Widows report Centre for the Modern Family, Dr Rake says of the research “… married couples, lone parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – can all create the strong caring relationships that are the hallmark of a good family life.” But what about families who are not related by blood? Like extended families including ex-partners?
As an illustration of that, my kids and I – along with their dad, bonus mum and bonus brother, appeared on Friday 23 December on BBC Breakfast TV. Sadly, people think it’s ‘weird’ to be a healthy functioning blended family comprised of ex’s and new partners. The Scottish Widows study showed that 22% of families said their family type was not valued by society, and 18% feel actively judged by society for the family model in which they live.
Stop sniping at ‘broken families’ and start praising ‘extended families’
Helping people to ‘break up right – please don’t fight’ and to allow their families to take on new forms in ways that keep them out of court and save them money, requires a collaborative and co-operative approach. Which is why more people need to give mediation and collaborative law serious attention when facing divorce. At the very least, actually talk to a real live mediator and collaborative lawyer and find out how they can – with the co-operation of financial and wellbeing professionals if desired by the couple – help a family go through a massive life change in a way that will usually save them money, keep them out of court and protect their children from becoming used as weapons in a litigious approach to breakup.
Come on Mr Cameron: Stand up for all families in their ever growing complexity, and welcome the fact that in order to achieve a healthy extended family, it requires learning new skills in collaboration. These are the very skills we need to change The Big Society from a rallying cry, into a reality.
Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke has said:
‘More use of mediation, more effective court processes and more efficient provision of advice will help to create a family justice system which can better resolve these difficult emotional problems in the best interests of children and families.’
So how can a red Valentine’s Box supporting divorce make a difference?
The box is full of complementary services via vouchers for various experts and also discounts from companies like Divorce Online, who have recently launched a court fee exemption calculator website. Owner of Divorce Online Mark Keenan reckons that the site “will save lips (litigants in person) a hell of a lot of time going through form EX160.” But even more useful is the box’s focus on non-agressive divorce, and starting over from the emotional aspects of family breakup.
As the creator of the Travel Guide for Divorce (in a box), I genuinely believe that the focus on mediation and collaborative law, and particularly on wellbeing support, helps keep families ‘together’ even though they are moving into separate homes. As a mother of 3 children, I know only too well that the worst Valentine’s Day for me was the one I experienced when my children’s father and i were going through break up, feeling like a romantic failure and wondering if I’d ever find love again. It was horrible.
Collaborative Family Lawyer (they keep you out of court) Kirstie Law says: “Valentines Day can be a difficult day for those who are unhappy in a relationship. If you are thinking of separating it does not have to be acrimonious. Collaborative law and mediation are increasingly used as alternatives to court. The lawyers of the West Kent & East Sussex Collaborative Law Group recognise the value, particularly when it comes to future cop-parenting, of resolving issues constructively. In January all new collaborative clients were offered a divorce in a box free and there are still a few left for those interested in collaborative law. The boxes contain £100s of vouchers and can assist on a financial, emotional and practical level with a range of vouchers for professionals from counsellors to accountants and pensions experts/financial planners. ”
Divorce Online will also soon be providing a link to the Divorce in a Box as an added benefit for it’s clients so support them through the divorce process as painlessly as possible.
I have no way of knowing if anyone will choose the ‘small red box with ribbon) during the Valentine period, but along with those of us actively promoting non-aggressive divorce, I do hope that it might inspire any couples who want to offer each other a way out of their relationship that is respectful and supportive, and who don’t want to ruin the happy memories of better days.
Travel Guide for Divorce in an attractive box which includes over £500 of complementary access to skilled professional advice. In a range of colours, (ribbon is optional) they can be bought online for £40 including vat and UK postage via www.sosdivorceinabox.com