First Aid: Part 9 (11min)





Painful – but necessary. Time to get tougher on yourself: don’t indulge the ‘victim’ mentality. It may also be a good time for those who support you to use some ‘tough love’ – if your anger or pain is stopping you moving forward. I often speak with women and men who are so busy being angry with their Ex, that they never do the practical things they need to do to make themselves more independent.


Changing family forms: do we all need to let go of the past? Yes! Forgiveness – even just making those first steps – can revolutionise your life and those of your children.


It may currently feel impossible to forgive – all I’m suggesting is that you allow for that possibility at some time in the future, and consciously sow the seeds from now on.

Stay solution-focused: busting myths like the one that says Mediation only works for “people who are getting on well” or that ‘He/she is too unreasonable for Mediation to work” can be seen in the series of the Divorce Myth Busting Video series.


  • Painful – but necessary. Time to get tougher: don’t indulge the ‘victim’ mentality
  • Taking it to extremes – the longest divorce and throwing money at lawyers
  • Changing family forms: do we all need to let go of the past?
  • Stay solution-focused: busting the mediation myth that it only works for “people who are getting on well”

Robert Anderson once said: ‘In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.’

Painful – but necessary.

The whole victim thing can impact on the workplace and isn’t helping the person concerned. Once they have done ‘Shock’ and are moving into Anger – or are further on in the process – then it may be time to be cruel to be kind – or that’s how it could feel at the time.

Some people just drag their divorce out that bit longer than necessary – like over 12 years longer.

Welcome to Rosendale v. Rosendale, a court battle local lawyers describe as one of the longest-ever divorce cases in Orange County.

No fewer than six lawyers have been employed over the years by the two litigants, Warren Rosendale, now 79, and his perpetual ex-wife, Carol Rosendale, now 74. A half-dozen judges have heard the case.

The fight has frayed emotions to the edge of numbness and changed the rules for prenuptial agreements. The battle, of course, has sucked away money. Legal fees easily have exceeded $100,000, and that doesn’t include court costs.

Carol and Warren Rosendale’s divorce case (xxiv) – at 12 years and eight months, and counting – has outlasted their marriage.

Mr and Mrs Kavanagh, both UK lawyers, managed to squander a chunk of their £3,000,000 fortune in disputes about their three children and the financial aspects of their separation. Whilst married for just 10 years, they then spent 5 years litigating and their combined legal costs alone were said to be £900,000.

Those couples may not have good friends to tell them it’s time to stop – or maybe they wouldn’t listen anyway. But our attitudes to what we see as acceptable or normal have more power over others than we might think.

For example, we talk about ‘broken’ families. But what about those families that ‘break up’ but are not ‘broken’?

On the morning of Friday 23 December, a prerecorded sequence of my own blended family eating together was shown on BBC Breakfast TV, with Dr Katherine Rake as the ‘expert’ interviewed about the ‘modern family’.

In the Scottish Widows report Centre for the Modern Family, Dr Rake says of the research “..people seem quite liberal around form. In other words they recognise that different arrangements – married couples, lone parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles – can all create the strong caring relationships that are the hallmark of a good family life.”

Just as legal and wellbeing professionals are learning to co-operate and take a multidisciplinary approach to the family breakup process, so families themselves are learning to adapt to a more co-operative way of living when the conventional family form becomes unachievable, or undesirable. Yet society seems to be lagging behind in accepting these changes: 22% of families in the study said their family type was not valued by society. 18% feel actively judged by society for the family model in which they live.

But the statistics take on a deeper significance when you include the 43% of people over 60 who live alone, and the 25% of this group living alone with no family nearby. (xxv)

Why is there so much social pressure to have a traditional family form, when surely the emphasis should be on encouraging families of all forms, to collaborate and work towards long term healthy relationships? And this becomes critical during divorce, where social pressure should be towards supporting that family to have a non-aggressive breakup. And that includes giving them the right information.

The most irritating phrase I hear is that mediation ‘only works for some people’. I know that domestic violence is one of the reasons for refusing Mediation during divorce, but even in that circumstance mediation can offer a very empowering way for the abused person to feel supported by the mediator and able to create a sustainable settlement with their ex-partner, in a situation where the power balance is less skewed than in the home situation. Shuttle mediation and even Skype are used to keep the couple feeling safe when being in the same room is not a viable option. Court experience can be deeply traumatic, especially when children become part of what the parents are fighting over.”

Knowing who to talk to is key:

Taking responsibility for your own divorce is only tough if you trying to do it all on your own. I encourage people who access online divorce options to not be disheartened if filling in the paperwork suddenly becomes complex. If you need to get agreement first on how you will be CoParenting, then mediation can be used just for that part as an impartial adviser is going to be really useful. If you have complex property issues and pensions to sort out, then talk to a specialised Financial Planner (not the same as a normal IFA) and once you have sorted the parenting aspects and the finances, then using an online divorce option is suddenly not complex at all. I offer access to all these useful people through the Divorce in a Box product and through my Alternative Divorce Experts online directory.

C. JoyBell stated: “There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart.” 



  1. (xxv)Scottish Widows report Centre for the Modern Family



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