First Aid: Part 7 (3min)

Bandages and Dressings



Need to protect yourself and to heal, but it’s all getting too much? 

Ways to rebuild your confidence are essential. Coaching, Counselling and well-being experts can help you.

Don’t get drawn into negative reflections on the past before the bandages are off – give yourself time to heal. Instead of taking time out, too often those divorcing go on the attack.

The financial difference between an adversarial and a holistic non-aggressive divorce can be huge. Find out how Mediation and Collaborative Law can work for you and help to keep your divorce out of court.

  • Don’t get drawn into negative reflections on the past – how to help divorcing colleagues, friends or family members to begin to heal
  • Instead of taking time out, too often those divorcing go on the attack
  • The financial difference between an adversarial and a holistic non-aggressive divorce
  • How Mediation and Collaborative Law can work better

American writer Mignon McLaughlin is quoted as saying: “If you made a list of reasons why any couple got married, and another list of the reasons for their divorce, you’d have a hell of a lot of overlapping.”

If only one partner in your marriage is a smoker, you’re 75 percent to 91 percent more likely to divorce than smokers who are married to fellow smokers. (xix)

The more similar people are in their values, backgrounds, and life goals, the more likely they are to have a successful marriage. From age to ethnicity to unhealthy habits, dissimilarities between spouses increase divorce risks.

This becomes as clear as day – after the relationship has broken down!

Wounded by divorce, you need to stop the bleeding, you need to find ways to ease the damage as your whole life feels like it’s crumbling around you. But once you’ve bandaged up your life and started to get on track, dissecting the past can become an unhelpful occupation.

An abiding memory for me was a friend calling me up while I was still in the family home, shortly after the breakup had happened, and she invited me and the kids to join her family on holiday in Scotland. I’ll never forget the immense sense of relief – and gratitude – that I felt at that moment. I had something to look forward to over the coming difficult weeks. It was like a little glimmering light. I lifeline.

And when I was feeling safe and in a nurturing environment, I was able to begin to process what was happening to me, and to our family. And suddenly I went from “Oh my God how did this happen to us?” to “Oh my God how did we ever come to be together in the first place!?”

Reality really hits home now: we had nothing in common. What were we doing together for 10 years? This is a difficult time. It’s like your whole past gets scrutinised in the search for reason. To make sense of it all. You start to feel a bit stupid. And the natural reaction is … humility? No! It’s the blame!

Instead of saying to divorcing friends and work colleagues: “Yeah, I always thought he was wrong for you?” or “You’re better off without her” – just be aware that you could inadvertently be fuelling an adversarial divorce. Bandages indicate the need to take it easy – but too often people launch into an attack to justify the pain they are in, instead of taking time out and being open to longterm solutions.

I became fed up with the fluffy image of stay-out-of-court routes through a family break up and the myths that surround them. Not getting a straight answer from the lawyers about the cost difference between mediated and collaborative divorce, compared to the adversarial going to court route, I also wanted to bust some of the big myths about adversarial divorce being the best way to get a more favourable divorce settlement.  Clear evidence from mediation studies on the harm adversarial divorce does to children in the long term seems to be not getting through to the public – nor the financial benefits of avoiding adversarial lawyers.

I added up the cost range of an adversarial divorce by taking the average cost of a London divorce: Novitas calculated that the average cost in London just to pay the solicitors is £40,000 for each set of solicitors fees – so that’s £80,000 for the couple in legal fees alone. (xx)

I then looked at the collaborative divorce costs of journalist Martha Roberts who wrote about her ‘happy divorce’ in the Daily Mail, of £15,000 total (xxi) – which is much more than the £1,500 that many collaborative divorces can cost, as it all depends on how complex the financial arrangements are and how many sessions it takes for the couple to agree on a settlement. But I chose this higher figure as I wanted to give adversarial divorce a fair run for its money – and even on this basis, the difference in cost is £65,000.

Mediation is much less expensive still, as no lawyers need to be present at the meetings, and costs are usually between £500 and £3,000 for a mediated divorce.

Estimates on the average cost of a divorce in the U.S. range from $15,000 to $30,000.

But just looking at the numbers is not giving a realistic view of the situation. Mediation and Collaborative Law can seem tougher to couples who don’t want to sit in the same room with each other, and even knowing the harm done to their children if they become adversarial is not always enough to stop them going down that route. The Mischon De Reya study (xxii) showed that parents are willing to drag their kids through the divorce process even when they acknowledged it harms the children. People need to get the necessary support and help to navigate a stay-out-of-court journey.

But what kind of support? I suggest that it can be as simple as dealing with depression and anger by joining a gym or getting a personal trainer, working with a life coach. Other resources are parenting experts, you can investigate start-up business opportunities (to reduce the fear of lack of income post-divorce), working with a financial coach and a financial planner to create a detailed and accurate financial plan for both parents including who will cover university fees, and how much they can afford to spend on cars and holidays over the ensuing years, without running out of money. None of these are the job of a traditional divorce lawyer.

It may sound like a lot of different experts compared to just using two adversarial lawyers, I admit; but think of it this way. If you pay to use mediation plus a whole host of useful experts who will help you complete the process successfully, you will have learned and gained a great deal from going through the process, and still saved yourself at least £65,000 in lawyers fees.

From an anonymous source comes the quote: “Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand.”


(xix) Rebecca Kippen, Bruce Chapman and Peng Yu, “What’s Love Got to Do With It? Homogamy and Dyadic Approaches to Understanding Marital Instability,” Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, 2009

(xx) Novitas Divorce Litigation Fund

(xxi) Martha Roberts: My Happy Divorce

  1. (xxii)Mishcon De Reya study 2009 BBC News


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