I remember preparing a Divorce Petition for a new client and starting to feel sad for the client. Not because their marriage has broken down. Not because they were faced with the prospect of trying to reach an agreement with their now ex-husband about arrangements for their children and long term financial matters. No, I found myself being sad because they will be on their own on Valentine’s Day and have no one to send them a card, flowers or take them out for a meal. I then pulled myself up short and gave myself a virtual slap across the face. How ridiculous. At the end of the day Valentine’s Day is largely a Greeting Card Company / Florist, Restauranter manufactured creation which seduces many people into spending inflated sums on flowers and cards and to pay exorbitant sums for a fixed menu on a table for 2 squeezed into along row of tables for 2 at pre-ordained seating times.
What does that have to do with real love? Doesn’t it mean more when someone tells you they love you on the 12th February rather than the 14th? Isn’t it more meaningful if someone shows a small act of kindness and affection on a different day on the calendar? Doesn’t that spontaneous bunch of flowers from the Petrol Station bought on the way home from work “just because” mean so much more?
It is those things that people should mourn at the end of a relationship. It is the companionship mutual support and family life that is lost, not the prospect of a card and gift bought once a year out of a sense of obligation.
In my daily work I have to deal with people coping with one of the most difficult times in their lives. It is important to remember that however bad a marriage may have been, either throughout or towards the end, the loss of that relationship is still a true loss and will have a significant impact upon everyone involved not least of all the children.
It is important to remember the real emotions and the real stories behind the breakdown of a relationship and not to fall into the trap of thinking that a client’s marriage and life after divorce can be summarised in a few files of papers and columns of figures and Court documents. In my daily practice I try to remember the real person behind the work I do. I discuss with all my clients the possibility of seeking support and help from a divorce support coach. I talk to them about all the options available to them. Has the marriage / relationship really broken down? Would counselling as a couple help? If the relationship is definitely at an end what is the best way of dealing with the outstanding issues?
Here at Taylor&Emmet we offer a full service to clients so that they can choose from mediation services, collaborative family law services where the parties sign an agreement committing not to refer matters to Court, traditional negotiation, round table meetings, and yes, if it became necessary and is in the best interest of the client and the children, representation and support throughout Court Proceedings.
So, if you have a friend or family member who is going through a separation or divorce at this time please remember that for them every day, not just Valentine’s Day, is a difficult one. Every day is a day where they have seen an end of a relationship and are perhaps struggling to see a positive future for themselves. Personal and professional experience tells me that there is a future after divorce. Romantic love is not the only kind of love. The love of family and good friends is just as important and probably less fickle. Maybe the best thing to do for our divorcing friends on Valentine’s day is for us to pop round with a bunch of flowers on the 15th February or take them out for a meal on the 16th to remind them what love is and that it doesn’t have to be packaged in red ribbon and paper hearts.
For more information or to speak to one of our Sheffield based solicitors, call us on 0114 218 4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.