After trying to make a 12 year marriage work that included attending sessions at Relate and individual counselling, Liz realised it was a lost cause and wanted a divorce. With that she also wanted her husband to remain a big part of their children’s lives and hoped that they could become good co-parents in the future. But Liz wasn’t confident that that would happen. She feared that her husband wouldn’t be able to see anything positively and was very worried that his anger with her over the divorce would affect his on-going relationship with their children.
Liz had done her research reading articles, blog posts, searching the net, buying books, talking to professionals and had looked at conflict resolution options including mediation and collaborative practice. She had learnt that conflict was the major cause of unhappiness and poor outcomes for the children. She got it that it was about them and not about her or her husband.
Unfortunately, all too often one side “gets it” and other parent can’t or won’t bring themselves to take the fight out of the conflict and truly focus on what is best for their children. A common theme, both in marriage and divorce, is that “It takes two.” It is no different when trying to end the acrimony and develop a post-separation co-parenting relationship that works.
That fear of how best to deal with the spouse who didn’t yet “get it” opened an opportunity for me to refer Liz to Chris Mills. Specialising in supporting divorcing and separating couples in Bath to understand and manage the complex emotional dynamics of their separation, Chris was able to hear the problems and challenges that Liz faced in dealing with her husband and then contact and invite her husband to tell things from his perspective. Chris then offered to assist with both Liz and her husband without representing either, to develop a parenting plan that worked for them both and their family.
Getting both parents engaged in the process of conflict resolution is no easy task. Often little thought is given to how the other parent is doing particular if they continue to make life miserable. But getting both to “get it” as soon as possible can make all the difference to how the separation and divorce impacts the children affected. My experience is that family consultants like Chris Mills accredited by Resolution to work from Bath in the specialised field of divorce and separation can help make that difference.