Mogers Drewett: Divorce 2.0 – The Era of Resolution Together

It has been almost 12 months since the option for one lawyer to assist a couple in divorcing and reaching a financial resolution became available. As someone who undertook the training course last December and by January had taken on my first case, I believe now is a good time to reflect on how this new program has developed.

I have always viewed my role as dealing with adults who are able to make their own informed decisions about marrying or separating. Individuals choose to end relationships for various personal reasons; some moral, some simply to move on. However, the intensity of emotions when ending a marriage should not be underestimated. While the goal is the division of assets and the legal dissolution of the union, this belies the inner turmoil most couples experience leading up to the separation.

The anxiety over an individual’s future is often more frightening than remaining in a loveless marriage. The levels of anger, hurt and resentment are often elevated despite sometimes having waned during the final stretches of the failing marriage. In my experience, the intensity extending years of suppressed frustrations boiling over is more pronounced than the subdued feelings existing at the end.

As the single lawyer assisting couples seeking divorce, you quickly understand each person’s motivations and strategies amidst this maelstrom. The key is not to provide advice or take sides, but to offer solutions and remain independent.

It was the uniqueness of each case that surprised me, as each couple could confirm why their relationship had ended without attributing blame and what they needed from the other both emotionally and financially to move on. Despite the end goal being their separation, this was a critical juncture in their relationship.

The collaborative process creates space for a new form of relationship beyond the separation, regardless of children being involved. My cases so far affirm it as a beneficial program enabling couples to divorce with dignity despite difficulties. The intensity of emotions is handled constructively rather than escalated. I aim to provide sound legal counsel while allowing the intensity to flow, not to be bottled up and likely to explode.

There are challenges as the single solicitor balancing empathy and boundaries, but for most couples it offers space to reframe the relationship with less acrimony. I see progress dealing with the rawness of separation in a solution-focused manner. Emotional maturity is modelled. While the process is draining at times, I feel rewarded facilitating stability amidst the turmoil. It has renewed my commitment to facing the intensity with compassion, guiding couples to make legal decisions aligned with their values. This uplifts the profession even as the system evolves.

I look forward to seeing how the program continues to shape the field’s future. We have come a long way to make space for the emotional dynamics within the legal framework.

As society recognises the harm of contentious divorces, especially with children involved, Resolution Together provides a powerful alternative. I am proud to be part of this new era, empowering couples to divorce, with dignity, despite the challenges.

Simon Walker. Senior Associate; T: 01935 813691; Spring House, East Mill Lane, Sherborne, DT9 3DP