First Aid: Part 10 (3min)

Calendula Cream and Lavender Oil



Being sensitive to the later stages: healing and grieving can come quite late on in the process. Be ready to be vulnerable – it’s a good sign, but you may need extra support at this time.


None of us is immune from family breakup and divorce: are you being judgemental with yourself or with your Ex? Drop the judgement, and focus on creating a new and exciting future.


  • Being sensitive to the later stages: healing and grieving
  • We are not immune from family breakup and divorce: are you being judgemental?
  • Are families really ‘broken’?

From Cheryl Nielsen came the truism: “Grief is the emotional contract of divorce”.

Healing is now beginning. Grief is one of the later stages of the process – so it may seem like a retrograde step from the outside. But that ability to deal with the immense sense of loss is really vital to moving forward. So your divorcing friends or colleagues may seem to become withdrawn – but that’s Ok. They may want to talk about the past relationship without rancour or blame – so let them and don’t try to ‘be on their side’ by remembering negative things about their Ex. Instead, honour the good parts of their relationship. Now is the time they may be able to hear it. This is very painful of course – so care and empathy are important.

Guilt can play a part – but should be accepted as natural and let go off. This is a time for forgiveness for both sides.

Is this pushing some of your buttons? Have you grieved your own past relationships?

It’s so easy not to deal with your stuff – just dump it and start again. But never feel that you are immune to travelling that same road if you are fortunate enough not to have yet suffered in that way.

If your parents were divorced, you’re at least 40 percent more likely to get divorced than if they weren’t. If your parents married others after divorcing, you – as their children – are 91 percent more likely to get divorced. (xxvi)

This could be because witnessing our parents’ divorces reinforces our ambivalence about commitment in a “disposable society.” For most people, it’s easier to get a new freezer than fix the one you’ve got.

If you have a daughter, you’re nearly 5 percent more likely to divorce than if you have a son. (xxvii)

This figure multiplies with the numbers of daughters or sons. Perhaps this happens because fathers get more invested in a family life when they have boys. estimated in 2012 that the lifelong probability of a US marriage ending in divorce is between 40%–50%. (xxx)

36 percent of the US population aged between 50 and 69 have been divorced at least once in their lives. (xxxi)

So if you do the sums, you’ll see that on average in the US there are 2 divorces every minute.

In the UK, it’s about 13 divorces every hour.

In 1986 there was a UK divorce rate peak of 44% of married couples divorcing in that year.

Current trends show a rate according to ONS calculations of 42% – however, they exclude people who were married outside of the UK. If all marriages are included for UK citizens, then the rate of divorce is actually only 39%.

One in five newlyweds divorce after ten years of marriage, with the likelihood of a marriage ending in divorce further shrinking with each decade. A tiny 2 per cent of weddings end in divorce after thirty years of marriage, with divorce rates after forty years of marriage even rarer: fewer than 0.5 per cent of couples divorce after being married forty years or more.

Currently, a quarter of all births in the UK are recorded as being from couples who are cohabiting and not married (where both parents are registered on the birth certificate and have the same address).

This means the parents lack the protection of the marriage laws, since ‘common law marriage’ has never existed in the UK. This can make their breakup even scarier – as I know from my own experience. But the emotional aspects are just as horrible as that of any legal divorce.

We have 2.9 million cohabiting couples in the UK today. (xxix)

An opinion poll conducted by ComRes to coincide with Resolution’s Family Dispute Resolution Week confirms the importance of providing support to families undergoing a divorce or separation. The poll found that the overwhelming majority of people in London believe that putting children’s interests first or avoiding conflict are the most important factors when undergoing family breakdown.

What is most disturbing about the ComRes poll is that despite the overwhelming desire to avoid conflict, three-quarters of people believe that children end up being the main casualties of divorce and over a third believe that conflict is inevitable in family breakdown. So in order to change this perception, what we need is not just to guide divorcing couples towards divorce mediators and collaborative divorce lawyers. We need a cultural shift throughout the UK and the USA that will change the expectations of parents as to how they navigate family breakup.

There is a national cost to family break up – because of the ripple effects of divorce and family separations have wide social consequences. A preliminary report on The Costly Consequences of Divorce (xxxvi), indicates divorce and its direct and indirect economic consequences costs the United States 33.3 billion per year or $312 per household in the country. It is estimated that the average divorce costs state and federal governments $30,000 in direct and indirect costs (Direct costs include – child support enforcement, healthcare costs, Temporary Assistance for Needy People funds, food stamps, public housing etc. Indirect costs include – legal fees, lost work productivity, correctional facilities, unwed childbearing, dealing with drug problems, delinquency, criminality and other social problems linked to divorce). Given this information, the cost to the state of Tennessee, looking at Census 2000 data, is more than $1 billion annually. (xxxii)

The full cost of family failure in the UK is estimated at £44 billion per year – this is higher than the UK defence budget. (xxix)

Many families like my own are still termed ‘broken families’ with a single parent at the helm. But the reality is that our families are not broken. We co-parent effectively with our ex-partners, as extended families, and one of the key factors in being able to achieve this is not to have undergone a bitter and expensive legal battle to separate the lives of the parents, the biggest cost being born by the children.

Jennifer Weiner, in Fly Away Home writes: “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.” 


(xxvi) Nicholas Wolfinger, Understanding the Divorce Cycle, Cambridge University Press, 2005

  1. (xxvii)Gordon Dahl and Enrico Moretti, “The Demand for Sons,” published in the Review of Economic Studies, 2005


  1. (xxxi)
  2. (xxxii)

(xxxvi) A preliminary report entitled The Costly Consequences of Divorce in Utah: The Impact on Couples, Community and Government


Creator of Best Way To Divorce. International Divorce Divorce Strategist and TEDx Speaker.
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