If you are separating, then don’t end up like Dr Foster

Many of us will have been watching Dr Foster, the TV series based on a G. P., whose husband had an affair, and is now re-married with a small child.

People who have been through a divorce or a separation will understand the feeling of hurt, anger, rage and bewilderment when a relationship breaks down.

One of the most powerful characters is Tom, the teenager caught in the middle of his divorced parents. His confusion is evident, causing him to fight with friends and not be able to effectively communicate with either of his parents. He witnesses his parents fighting with each other and sees their evident distress.

We know children can come through a divorce unscathed, but we also know that how their parents deal with that separation will have a direct impact on how children can cope with what is inevitably a difficult time in their lives.

Putting feelings of betrayal aside is hugely challenging when you are feeling hurt. It is however probably very necessary.

There are several ways that a divorce or separation can be dealt with. The majority of cases do not have to be dealt with by a Court. Where parents can agree arrangements for their children (unlike the Fosters), a Court will not become involved.

There are alternatives to Court that separating couples should consider. Mediation is a non- Court based process, which helps separating couples discuss arrangements for their children or resolve financial matters after a separation. The Collaborative process, which has often been described as mediation with legal advice, allows you to deal with matters that cannot be dealt with in a Court process. It allows you to work through those feelings of hurt that can have an impact on how you co-parent your children. It also allows you to be in control of the process rather than the Courts determining the outcome for you. The collaborative process allows you to have a communication channel with your ex-partner so you can effectively discuss your children and how they are coping. The process involves collaborative lawyers and their clients have meetings together to find solutions and an outcome that benefits the family as a whole.

There are limited number of local lawyers that are trained in this process, Jo Scott at Kidd & Spoor is one of the few specialists.

If you have separated or are considering a separation and would like more information please email Jo Scott at js@kiddspoorlaw.co.uk or call for a chat on 0191 2970011