It’s difficult to know officially as we won’t get the statistics on the number of divorces in 2020 until later this year, and no one collects data on the number of non-married relationships that end. Anecdotally many family lawyers and mediators have reported being busy with work since mid-2020.
With any discussion about separation talk usually either turns to thoughts of a big acrimonious battle, or the conscious uncoupling approach famously taken by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. As a family mediator and non-practising family lawyer I would always advocate for the more constructive, amicable and peaceful separation.
There are a number of reasons why I believe an amicable separation benefits everyone involved and here are some of them:
There is a huge grief process that comes with divorce and you can go through a multitude of emotions. Most people identify sadness and anger but there can also be guilt, hurt, regret, shock, confusion, depression, anxiety and a whole host more. The grief process can go on for some time and it can be exhausting. On top of this real life goes on too. You still have to hold down a job, look after your children and be the child, sibling, friend you were before. It can be hard to summon the energy to find a resolution as well as managing the stress that goes with it.
The right professional support is crucial in achieving an amicable separation. You might think that you can’t afford a few hundred pounds on a private counsellor right now. But if spending a few hundred pounds on counselling helps you to resolve the emotional issues you’re facing right now and that stops you spending thousands of pounds in legal fees then it might be money well spent. The same can be said for some family mediation sessions if it stops you going round in a big circle each time you talk. At each stage you might have different needs be they emotional, legal, financial, practical or confidence-based and the right support can often see you moving more easily to the next stage. It’ll certainly mean you’re more likely to keep things peaceful.
Louisa Whitney is an accredited family mediator and child inclusive mediator offering family mediation at her office in Surrey and online. She set up LKW Family Mediation in 2013. She is also a non-practising solicitor. In addition to this she mentors and supervises other mediators and offers training to those working with separating couples. She is passionate about helping separating couples find resolutions that are tailored to them – and their children.