Have you spoken to your spouse about the idea of separating?
Most often, a decision to separate is not a shock to the other person, although sometimes it is. Even if it is half expected, the reality or the timing can be a shock. Fear about involving lawyers is a common reaction. You can change that fear and the tone of what follows by making a clear statement about a cooperative approach right from the first moment.
Most people, and that probably includes your spouse, are afraid about what will happen when they think about lawyers being involved in their separation. That is a reasonable fear, because of the stories, both true and exaggerated, about the cost and trauma of fighting it out between lawyers or in a court.
It is also a reasonable fear, because it sends a message that you want to fight it out rather than work it out. So it is vital to give an early message that you want to separate in a peaceful and cooperative way.
Amongst the bad news, it will be good news for your spouse if you can honestly say that you want to protect your children and yourselves from unnecessary hurt and conflict, and stay out of the legal system. It will be even better news if you can let them know that you have information about how that can be a reality.
Are you already separated or separating and not sure what you need to do now?
If you have just learnt about the MELCA approach, let your spouse know that you have information about an organisation that you think can help. Introduce them to our free report, our eBook, and our website, and book in for an information session. It is ideal if you attend that session together, but you are always welcome to attend on your own.
Even if one or both of you have consulted traditional lawyers, you don’t need to continue down that path. In fact, it is often the case that after people see a traditional lawyer, they look for alternatives, such as MELCA.
Are you already involved in adversarial negotiations or in court?
It’s never too late to change! One of our MELCA specialities is what we call “litigation rescue”. Sometimes people have no idea how they ended up in an expensive and conflict driven argument with lawyers or in court. It can be like an escalator, where you put your foot on the first step and it feels like there’s no way off.
If you wish you had taken a different approach at the start, or if you wish that now, that is your decision to make. Speak to your spouse and see if they feel the same way, or ask a friend/GP/counsellor/trusted relative to help with that conversation.
Lisa and Trevor were our first litigation rescue clients, back in 2010. They called us after day one in court, and Lisa later told us the following story:
“When we were standing in the foyer of the court that day, looking at all the other people going through the same thing, I nearly freaked out. After we had our first session in the court room, it was obvious that this was going to make matters worse for us. I was really worried about the kids. We had to go outside and wait again, and we’re so glad that happened. I grabbed Trevor in front of his lawyer and said, ‘Let’s get out of here’. And we did. I went online. I was really desperate for us to get help. I found MELCA, and the rest is history. I’m glad I’m divorced from Trevor (and I know he feels the same), but I’m very glad we ran away from court together that day, too.”
If you’re interested in an alternative to going through court, talk to your spouse about the collaborative process. By discussing it and finding out more, it could lead you to the best decision you make for your marriage.