If I could put a price on divorce and sorting out child arrangements and finances via the litigation and court route for a non-complex case, I'd say that divorcing couples spend on average around £20,000 each just in legal costs.
This is a guestimate that I'm sure many lawyers would say is a conservative estimate. This is just the financial costs. We haven't looked at how mentally taxing and emotionally draining the whole process is and the negative effects it has on the parties’ relationship with each other, their children, extended family members and friends. When choosing the court route, people tend to only consider the financial costs.
A holistic approach to divorce considers the physical, emotional and mental impact of the process on the parties and their children. It is more likely to feature mediation than the court system. It is also more likely that counselling and therapy will be suggested and recommended to support a healthy transition.
Coming from a holistic perspective, we are not just dealing with legal and physical separation but also with a potential breakdown of parenting and support systems for any children impacted by the separation and divorce.
When a relationship ends, and the separated couple has to negotiate their new roles as co-parents, misunderstandings and the healing process between them can take a very long time. Both parties might have to move away from the family home and find places to live separately. It can take a year or more for this transition to take place. During this time, both parents may be forced to co-exist under the same roof while they are transitioning.
Both parties will be going through a lot of upheavals, as well as feeling grief, loss, confusion and even anger. They might feel helpless about whether this process will ever be over and that things can't go back to the way they were. A holistic approach considers the whole range of emotions during a divorce. It doesn't simply focus on legal rights and responsibilities of the parties and their children.
A lot of the time, it doesn't feel like a legal process or what other people might perceive as one. By definition, a holistic process looks at the whole picture to find solutions that will benefit everyone. It might not be what the court or lawyers will determine as “fair”, but it is about finding bespoke resolutions that could benefit everyone involved and solutions that both parties can live with.
The holistic approach to divorce will help parents acknowledge and recognise their feelings and the feelings of their children. This will help them begin the journey of rebuilding a new relationship with each other and their children.
Why take a holistic approach to divorce?
The most obvious advantage of a holistic approach to divorce is that it offers a complete solution. It helps and supports parties to address legal rights and responsibilities, it is child centred and ensures that the children’s needs are met first and foremost and allows both parties time to move on with their lives at their own pace.
A holistic approach to divorce has been found to improve relationships between ex-spouses after divorce because each party was able to feel heard and understood. They were able to express their feelings and see what the other was going through, they were more likely to sympathise with one another. They aren't left in resentment because they didn't fully understand what was happening inside of their ex-spouse's head while they were going through tough and challenging times.
These are the benefits:
It is less expensive
With a holistic approach, couples have the benefit of saving themselves and all involved time, money and energy that they would have spent on a conflict resolution process in the court system. If you have been through the court system and managed to avoid going to a full trial, you will be aware of just how much time, money and energy is spent on this process.
It is usually faster
With a holistic approach to divorce comes an emphasis on finding compromises that both parties can live with and are happy with, reducing conflict. By doing this, the parties can move on faster with their new lives post completion of the divorce.
Mediators are trained specifically to support both parties in their divorce journey as third-party neutrals. They are there to give the separating couple an opportunity to express their feelings and identify areas of agreement that can be beneficial to everyone involved.
If mediation is used, the need for the court process will be evaluated by the mediator rather than the parties' lawyers. This means that money that may have been spent on legal fees is saved, and more time can be spent looking at “soft topics”, such as tools and resources to help parents communicate and co-parent better. These areas are often overlooked by lawyers and would not be considered by a judge who will only focus and adjudicate on legal rights and responsibilities.
You are likely to have more control over your future and co-parenting relationships
Through mutual support and understandings, it is easier for both parents to rebuild their relationship with each other. The parents then have more control over their future parenting roles, and they can be open and honest with each other.
We see this happening in our daily lives when separated couples come together, for the greater good of their children, on their own terms. They do not need to rely on court orders that dictate arrangements for their children and all the other legal rights and responsibilities that are secured through the court system.
You will be able to return to a happier, healthier life sooner
The healing side of a divorce is more likely to happen when you have support from others and those around you. This can be someone who is helping you through the process, whether they are a family member, friend, counsellor or divorce coach.
By having support in the process, rather than just having to cope on your own, it is more likely that your healing and recovery will be quicker. This can also reduce feelings of depression as well as anxiety as you return to living life in a new way.
Children will not feel angry towards their parents
Parental alienation can happen in a situation where one of the parents is angry with the other, and they do not want the children to have contact with them leading to manipulation of the children’s feelings to the extent they take on the feelings of the angry parent.
One parent may use the children as pawns, trying to get back at their ex-spouse to punish them for leaving. This can sometimes cause the children to fall out of love with one parent and carry feelings of anger that might not be directed towards the parent who is angry.
Parents must become aware that parental conflict is one of the top 10 adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that children suffer - it is parental conflict and not the separation and divorce that impacts adversely on their children's emotional and psychologically wellbeing.
By introducing a new holistic approach to separation and divorce, where each party can discuss their feelings and emotions with the other, it is more likely that children will maintain a close relationship and bond with both parents and will have a more positive outlook on their future after this process has come to an end.
If you are curious about how holistic family mediation can help support you and your family through separation and/or divorce, you may wish to consider our FAQs page and/or book in a Free Discovery Call via are services page.
If you are ready to get the ball rolling, please complete and submit a Self-Referral Form and book your initial separate Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) online. We will then get in touch with your ex-partner (unless requested to hold off any communication at this stage) to encourage them to engage in the process highlighting the benefits of family mediation - low cost, staying in control and to have a quicker resolution compared to court based proceedings.