Divorce and the 10 Layers of SeparationNick Richards FDRP LL.B MBA GDLP DMgmt MQLS
The Complexities of divorce
By definition divorce is ‘the dissolution of marriage’. So why is divorce so complex, costly and fraught with fear? The answer is quite simple, a divorce is essentially a 10 layered separation. So you ask, what are the ten layers? Isn’t is just a case of hiring a lawyer, doing some paperwork, some mediation and going through the emotional battle? Well, in many respects it is, however the complexity of separation is far reaching, and without parties understanding each layer, the likelihood over a protracted and messy divorce is increased ten-fold.
What are the 10 Layers of Separation?
In order to ‘successfully divorce’ couples will need to identify and acknowledge that a marriage consists of ten layers:
Couples need to understand where they were prior to meeting each other there was no legal attachment, no physicality, no joint banks accounts and mortgages, different emotions, different social networks, different responsibilities (children/financial) and so much more.
What Constitutes a Successful divorce?
A successful divorce is one were parties can remain calm, communicative, composed and rational through out the separation process where they work with relevant professional service providers to reverse the effect of marriage in a timely and cost effective manner with the minimal amount of impact on their children, family and friends.
Okay, so this sounds like bliss right? So how does a separating couple get there?
How should you approach untying the knot?
Many ask us how a divorce be facilitated with the minimal amount of fuss, cost and time?
Some family lawyers would argue that the paramount consideration is protecting your interests first and foremost above all and the only way to do this is to hire the best family lawyer you can afford.
Other family lawyers would argue a ‘holistic approach’ is the preferred method and they are able to provide such a service, which for many couples is a utopian dream given one of the key factors of divorce is communication break down and given the lack of lawyers with psychology degrees and experience, this approach would fail in a number of ways.
Psychologists and Counsellors would argue its about peeling back the proverbial layers of the ‘relationship onion’ whilst many would accept that technically this is the correct starting point it fails to address many legal and procedural aspects that could cause a separation to turn into a messy divorce.
Our Approach to Successful Separation & Divorce
We would argue that the ‘protection of interests’ the ‘holistic approach’ and the ‘relationship onion’ are a mere starting point in addressing how to successfully divorce, but none of them can successfully untie the knot in their sovereignty. The answer is simple, a hybrid of the ‘protection of interests’ the ‘holistic approach’ and the ‘relationship onion’ coupled with detailed short and long term planning of each and every one of the ten elements of separation increase the likelihood of a successful divorce. Our firm consists of practitioners that specialise in separation and divorce only, so when you engage us you can rest assured our plan is to get your dispute moving towards sustainable agreements and not protracting your matter costing you time, money and heartache.
But the other party is still struggling badly. Help!
We get it, that in a relationship there is the ‘leaver’ and the ‘left’ and its commonly accepted that each party is at different ends of the psychological spectrum with respect to moving on with their life. The ‘leaver’ has had plenty of time to consider an exit strategy, whereas the ‘left’ party is left struggling to catch up emotionally with the onset of potential legal proceedings, economic disparity, social and communal implications in addition to the raft of all the differing opinions of advice we are given. This is where planning comes into play based on the ten elements above.
Whilst it is beyond the scope of this article, as mentioned above, planning your separation and divorce is paramount. Consider any obstacles you, your children and your ex-spouse may face in the short and long term based on the ten elements above. If you are in a position to discuss these issues with your ex-spouse this is recommended, however if you are reading this article it is likely that communication has broken down and you are looking for assistance.
Mediation is now a prerequisite for filing in the Family Court (new or amendment of current orders). One reasons for writing this article is that the ten elements described above will always rear their head in FDR sessions. That’s why we discovered that separation planning can sometimes alleviate the costs, time and heartache associated with a divorce. It has been shown to substantially increase the likelihood of standing agreements as mediation. Additionally, we are finding that many parties will commence their journey with us prior to seeing a family lawyer, be it in a couple counselling session or mediation sessions, as the processes we adopt and the resources we provide our parties with provide them with a wealth of knowledge in how to successfully separate.
NOTE: The above is not legal advice.