Your Options: What are the best choices you can make?

Knowing your options - what choices are available to you - may not be a simple as you may think.

For a start, if your mind is full of fear and anger, you are unlikely to be as open to some of the options outlined in this section as someone who is feeling more confident and calm.  This is why it is essential to take a holistic approach, and exploit the free sessions available from the wide range of wellbeing experts available in other areas of this resource pack.

Understanding the benefits of the options below and getting the right advice from the right people (ie. not from lawyers who focus on adversarial family law rather than mediation/collaborative law) will allow you to make informed and intelligent decisions, with the wellbeing of your family at the heart of your decision making process.

 


  • Get clear on all the advantages of the different ways to divorce/separate
  • Don't be quick to dismiss an option because your Ex is 'unreasonable' - don't decide on their behalf
  • Remember that staying out of court means finding longer-term solutions that benefit the family as a whole

%3Cstrong%3EDivorce%20Mediation%20%E2%80%93%20what%20is%20it%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%20Well%20it%E2%80%99s%20not%20the%20same%20as%20%E2%80%98meditation%E2%80%99%20(sitting%20quietly%20and%20connecting%20to%20your%20inner%20being)%20and%20it%E2%80%99s%20also%20nothing%20to%20do%20with%20%E2%80%98getting%20back%20together%E2%80%99.%20These%20are%20common%20misconceptions%20so%20I%20wanted%20to%20get%20that%20out%20of%20the%20way%20first%20of%20all.%20Mediation%20is%20not%20appropriate%20for%20people%20who%20are%20in%20physical%20or%20psychological%20danger%20by%20being%20in%20the%20same%20room%20as%20their%20partner%2C%20such%20as%20in%20a%20serious%20domestic%20abuse%20situation%2C%20but%20just%20not%20liking%20each%20other%20any%20more%20is%20not%20a%20good%20reason%20to%20forsake%20a%20tried%20and%20tested%20method%20of%20facilitating%20a%20long%20term%2C%20sustainable%20way%20forward%20as%20separate%20people.%20Mediation%20allows%20a%20couple%20a%20supported%20and%20guided%20method%20to%20end%20their%20marriage.%20It%20can%20also%20be%20a%20useful%20way%20to%20sort%20out%20parenting%20issues.%20With%20an%20experienced%20mediator%2C%20even%20the%20most%20difficult%20roadblocks%20on%20the%20way%20through%20divorce%20and%20family%20breakup%20can%20be%20overcome%2C%20and%20you%20don%E2%80%99t%20have%20to%20go%20to%20court.%20Which%20is%20a%20good%20thing%2C%20as%20this%20saves%20you%20money%20and%20a%20whole%20lot%20of%20stress.%20If%20your%20mediator%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20happen%20to%20be%20a%20financial%20expert%2C%20you%20can%20bring%20in%20a%20financial%20planner%20to%20deal%20with%20any%20tricky%20sums%20relating%20to%20house%20values%20and%20pension%20splitting%2C%20(most%20lawyers%20would%20also%20need%20to%20use%20a%20financial%20planner%20to%20help%20sort%20out%20that%20kind%20of%20stuff).%20The%20only%20need%20for%20a%20lawyer%20would%20be%20to%20check%20out%20any%20legal%20points%20that%20might%20arise%20and%20to%20make%20sure%20your%20final%20agreement%20%E2%80%93%20although%20not%20legally%20binding%20%E2%80%93%20is%20suitably%20drafted%20and%20appropriate%20for%20the%20judge%20who%20will%20ultimately%20still%20makes%20the%20decision%20over%20what%20is%20a%20%E2%80%98fair%E2%80%99%20settlement.%20But%20you%20don%E2%80%99t%20have%20to%20go%20to%20court%20or%20fight%20over%20anything%2C%20and%20the%20mediation%20sessions%20are%20confidential%20and%20allow%20couples%20to%20focus%20on%20positive%20goals%20such%20as%20co-parenting%20after%20parting.%20Emotionally%2C%20it%20can%20be%20easier%20to%20take%20a%20more%20combative%20approach%20if%20you%20are%20angry%20or%20deeply%20hurt%2C%20which%20is%20why%20I%20recommend%20coaching%20of%20some%20kind%2C%20or%20even%20working%20with%20a%20counseller%20or%20healer%2C%C2%A0prior%20to%20beginning%20mediation%2C%20to%20get%20you%20into%20the%20best%20emotional%20and%20psychological%20headspace%20to%20gain%20the%20greatest%C2%A0benefits%20from%20the%20process.
%3Cstrong%3EWhat%20is%20Collaborative%20Law%3F%3C%2Fstrong%3E%20Collaborative%20Lawyers%20keep%20you%20out%20of%20court.%20In%20fact%2C%20you%20can%E2%80%99t%20go%20to%20court%20if%20you%20use%20Collaborative%20Lawyer.%20Should%20negotiations%20break%20down%20between%20both%20parties%2C%20and%20a%20couple%20decide%20to%20go%20to%20court%2C%20then%20they%20have%20to%20get%20different%20lawyers%20to%20represent%20them.%20The%20advantage%20of%20this%20is%20that%20collaborative%20lawyers%20have%20a%20huge%20incentive%20(as%20do%20the%20couple)%20to%20find%20a%20sustainable%20and%20acceptable%20agreement%20on%20all%20matters%20relating%20to%20the%20divorce.%20Collaborative%20law%20differs%20from%20using%20only%20mediators%20mainly%20in%20that%20the%20couple%20have%20immediate%20access%20to%20legal%20advice%20%E2%80%98on%20tap%E2%80%99%20during%20the%20sessions.%20So%20if%20you%20wanted%20to%20pop%20out%20of%20the%20room%20and%20have%20a%20private%20chat%20with%20your%20collaborative%20lawyer%2C%20that%20would%20be%20fine%2C%20which%20is%20not%20so%20easily%20the%20case%20with%20mediation%20as%20the%20mediator%20must%20remain%20completely%20impartial.%20So%20it%E2%80%99s%20like%20having%20someone%20helping%20you%20%E2%80%98in%20your%20corner%E2%80%99%2C%20which%20can%20be%20useful%2C%20but%20also%20it%20must%20be%20remembered%20that%20the%20collaborative%20process%20thrives%20on%20the%20same%20elements%20as%20mediation%20does%20%E2%80%93%20full%20financial%20disclosure%2C%20and%20clear%20communication.%20Just%20because%20someone%20is%20trained%20in%20collaborative%20law%20does%20not%20mean%20they%20always%20work%20%E2%80%98collaboratively%E2%80%99%20and%20it%20is%20important%20to%20choose%20your%20collaborative%20lawyer%20carefully.%20This%20is%20of%20course%20the%20same%20with%20choosing%20a%20mediator%20or%20any%20other%20professional.%20Make%20sure%20they%20share%20your%20commitment%20and%20passion%20to%C2%A0achieve%C2%A0the%20positive%20outcomes%20of%20your%20divorce%20or%20break%20up%20such%20as%20a%20strong%20parenting%20partnership%20agreement%20or%20being%20comfortable%20that%20the%20final%20financial%20settlement%20was%20fair.%20You%20are%20in%20charge%20or%20your%20divorce%2C%20not%20the%20lawyers.%20There%20are%20some%20excellent%20professionals%20out%20there%2C%20so%20don%E2%80%99t%20just%20settle%20for%20someone%20who%20has%20the%20job%20title%20if%20you%20don%E2%80%99t%20really%20feel%20confident%20that%20they%20will%20be%20someone%20you%20want%20to%20work%20with.
%3Cstrong%3EFamily%20Arbitration%20for%20divorce%20can%20rescue%20a%20non-adversarial%20divorce%20from%20crumbling%20into%20a%20nasty%20expensive%20court%20battle.%20%3C%2Fstrong%3E%20%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Falternativedivorcedirectory.co.uk%2Flisting-category%2Fdivorce-arbitration-divorce_advice_relationship_breakdown_legal_divorce_lawyer_divorce_solicitor%2F%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EFamily%20Arbitration%3C%2Fa%3E%20is%20the%20new%20kid%20on%20the%20block%20in%20the%20UK%20divorce%20community%2C%20and%20the%20potential%20benefits%20to%20divorcing%20clients%20are%20immense.%0A%3Cp%20class%3D%22p1%22%3EWhen%20a%20%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Falternativedivorceguide.com%2Fhow-to-divorce-amicably-information-pack%2Fwhy-use-divorce-mediation%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3EMediation%20%3C%2Fa%3Eor%20a%20%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Falternativedivorceguide.com%2Fhow-to-divorce-amicably-information-pack%2Fwhy-use-collaborative-divorce-lawyers%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3ECollaborative%20Law%20%3C%2Fa%3Eprocess%20fails%20to%20bring%20agreement%20on%20all%20aspects%20of%20the%20divorce%2C%20instead%20of%20ending%20up%20in%20court%20%E2%80%93%20where%20the%20whole%20process%20is%20unravelled%20and%20begins%20right%20back%20where%20you%20started%2C%20losing%20all%20the%20agreements%20already%20made%20%E2%80%93%20with%20a%20Divorce%20Arbitrator%20that%20single%20sticking%20point%20can%20be%20resolved.%20%C2%A0And%20quickly%20(compared%20to%20waiting%20months%20for%20a%20court%20date).%20%C2%A0At%20least%20it%20can%20for%20Mediation%20%E2%80%93%20currently%20the%20rules%20in%20the%20UK%20prevent%20the%20collaborative%20process%20from%20continuing%20on%20after%20that%20sticking%20point%20has%20been%20resolved%2C%20whereas%20with%20mediation%20the%20couple%20can%20pick%20up%20where%20they%20left%20off.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%20class%3D%22p1%22%3EEven%20if%20a%20%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Falternativedivorcedirectory.co.uk%2Flisting-category%2Ffinancial-planners-financial-advice-divorce-lifestyle-health-coaching-counselling-online-divorce-advice-how-to-divorce-amicably-divorce-mediation-collaborative-divorce%2F%22%3Efinancial%20planner%20%3C%2Fa%3Egives%20clear%20advice%20on%20how%20a%20pension%20should%20be%20split%20or%20the%20division%20of%20property%20assets%2C%20it%20may%20take%20the%20inclusion%20of%20an%20Arbitrator%20into%20the%20divorce%20process%20to%20provide%20the%20couple%20with%20the%20legally%20binding%20decision%20they%20are%20unable%20to%20agree%20on%20mutually%20together.%20%C2%A0And%20the%20decision%20of%20the%20couple%20to%20choose%20their%20arbitrator%20and%20to%20enter%20into%20the%20process%2C%20which%20will%20generate%20a%20binding%20decision%2C%20will%20allow%20the%20rest%20of%20the%20dispute%20resolution%20process%20to%20remain%20valid.%20%C2%A0When%20a%20couple%20appoint%20an%20arbitrator%20they%20can%20define%20many%20of%20the%20issues%20that%20they%20ask%20the%20arbitrator%20to%20determine%20and%20so%20are%20able%20to%20retain%20and%20build%20upon%20the%20work%20done%20up%20to%20that%20point.%20%C2%A0In%20other%20words%2C%20all%20the%20areas%20that%20the%20couple%20have%20managed%20to%20agree%20on%20will%20still%20stand%20%E2%80%93%20which%20will%20not%20be%20the%20case%20if%20they%20head%20for%20the%20courtrooms.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%20class%3D%22p1%22%3EFamily%20Arbitration%20provides%20an%20excellent%20alternative%20to%20going%20to%20court%20%E2%80%93%20cheaper%2C%20quicker%2C%20and%20possibly%20fairer%2C%20bearing%20in%20mind%20how%20some%20family%20court%20judges%20have%20far%20less%20training%20and%20expertise%20in%20family%20law%20than%20a%20qualified%20Divorce%20Arbitrator%20does.%C2%A0%20Also%20the%20couple%20can%20choose%20their%20Arbitrator%2C%20picking%20one%20who%20is%20specialised%20in%20the%20required%20legal%20area%2C%20and%20they%20are%20still%20in%20control%20of%20their%20divorce%20process%2C%20which%20will%20have%20such%20a%20huge%20impact%20on%20their%20lives.%C2%A0%20If%20they%20go%20to%20court%20%E2%80%93%20then%20they%20do%20not%20choose%20the%20Judge%2C%20have%20no%20way%20to%20reject%20a%20judge%20who%20doesn%E2%80%99t%20have%20the%20level%20of%20expertise%20to%20make%20legal%20decisions%20about%20their%20case%20that%20a%20qualified%20Arbitrator%20will%20have%2C%20and%20it%20can%20take%20months%20instead%20of%20weeks%20to%20get%20the%20decision%20finalised.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%20class%3D%22p1%22%3ENot%20only%20do%20the%20general%20public%20need%20to%20understand%20the%20benefits%20of%20the%20Arbitration%20process%2C%20but%20so%20do%20the%20divorce%20solicitors%2C%20as%20it%20is%20another%20tool%20in%20the%20divorce%20tool-box%20that%20can%20benefit%20their%20clients.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%20class%3D%22p1%22%3E%3C%2Fp%3E
Do%20It%20Yourself%20Divorce%20doesn't%20mean%20you%20can't%20get%20legal%20advice%20or%20even%20a%20barrister%20to%20represent%20you%20in%20court%20-%20but%20you%20remain%20fully%20in%20charge%20of%20the%20whole%20process%20and%20only%20pay%20for%20what%20you%20need.%20%C2%A0This%20can%20work%20well%20if%20you%20are%20well-informed%20and%20really%20do%20your%20homework.%0A%0AHowever%2C%20as%20you%20will%20see%20from%20the%20video%20further%20down%20this%20page%2C%20DIY%20can%20be%20a%20bad%20idea%20when%20it%20comes%20to%20going%20to%20court%2C%20or%20if%20you%20fail%20to%20get%20the%20relevant%20advice%20from%20financial%20experts.%20%C2%A0Many%20firms%20now%20offer%20services%20for%20people%20who%20are%20self%20representing%20and%20if%20that%20is%20your%20route%2C%20%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fstartingovershow.com%2Fcoparenting-how-do-i-get-to-see-my-kids-2%2Fbest-options-harsh-truths%2Fcoparenting-how-do-i-get-to-see-my-kids-essential-resources-2-4%2F%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3Ehave%20a%20chat%20with%20some%20of%20the%20legal%20experts%20in%20this%20section%20(their%20contact%20information%20is%20below%20their%20videos)%C2%A0%3C%2Fa%3E%3Cspan%20style%3D%22text-decoration%3A%20underline%3B%22%3E%3Ca%20href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fstartingovershow.com%2Fcoparenting-how-do-i-get-to-see-my-kids-2%2Fbest-options-harsh-truths%2Fcoparenting-how-do-i-get-to-see-my-kids-essential-resources-2-4%2F%22%20target%3D%22_blank%22%3ECLICK%20FOR%20LEGAL%20EXPERTS%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fspan%3E

Open your mind to the possibilities

The inspirational story about how 'putting the children first' can bring about a practical resolution that works for everyone as related on an earlier video demonstrates that there are no 'right' or 'wrong' ways to share time with the children - couples need to work together to create the best solutions that work for them.

So knowing your options is vital as trying to work it all out for yourselves can be a momentous task.

Different Options

John Stebbing talks about the different options open to you when divorcing or trying to agree how the children should be cared for.


Top Divorce Tips: You don't need to be friends

Julian McEvoy gives advice for couples divorcing amicably and assures them that they 'don't need to be friends' to use a non-adversarial route through divorce.


Mediation can help make the divorce process less traumatic

Family mediation is nothing to do with 'getting back together' - it is all about creating strong foundations for co-parenting and being in control of your own divorce - not handing the power over to a judge in a courtroom.

Mediation is also very flexible - you don't even have to be in the same room as your Ex!

Practical solutions: Mediation

Nadia Beckett explains why Mediation can be a powerful solution to parental disagreements.


Mediation when is separate rooms

Wendy Still of Stephen Rimmer LLP uses Shuttle Mediation for couples who don't want to sit in the same room as each other.


Collaborative Law - one of family law's best kept secrets

Despite being available for many years, Collaborative Law is still relatively unknown to the general public.  You don't go to court - but you have lawyers at your side all through the process.  It is particularly useful when you want to involve financial experts or other professionals in key discussions, as everyone can sit and talk around the table in a (usually) civilised fashion.

Collaborative Law vs Going To Court

Mediation and Collaborative Law

Your own private judge

Family arbitration may not be something your divorce solicitor remembers to explain fully, as it is still relatively new as an option - but it has huge value, especially in resolving financial cases where a lack of agreement is likely to cause the collapse of a mediation process.

Family Arbitration - how does it work?

The dangers of DIY

Increasingly more people are choosing to manage their own divorce, and to represent themselves in court - but it's not an easy option.

Despite the reduction in availability for Legal Aid, it is still available for Mediation, which sometimes fails to be clearly communicated to couples embarking on the divorce journey.

The challenges of Self Representing in Court

Nadia Beckett warns of the difficulty of Self Representing.


The best kind of support

Counselling and coaching are not just there for when someone is in dire straights - they are valuable tools that can significantly improve the outcome of how a divorce/separation is carried out, and how this effects the children in the longer term.


Psychotherapy supporting couples whilst they use Mediation

 

Caron Barruw explains how Psychotherapy can support couples who are navigating divorce.


Successful Single Parenting

How to move on as a single parent - and the key to success.

For more details see Vivienne Smith's book "Single Mums Survival Guide) in the Starting Over Show online shop