It is a whole year since the introduction of No Fault Divorce under the law in England and Wales. In this episode, our host, divorce specialist financial planner Tamsin Caine discusses the impact this has had on couples going through divorce with divorce coaches Sue Palmer-Conn and Tom Nash and family lawyer Vicky Richardson.
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Dr. Sue Palmer-Conn is a Chartered Psychologist with a background in child and forensic psychology. Sue is a multi-award-winning professional divorce coach and the UK’s only certified discernment counsellor who has worked with more than a thousand men, women, couples, and their children over the last twelve years.
Sue brings a wealth of knowledge about the emotional side of divorce as well as an understanding of the legal, financial, and parenting side. Sue’s experience as a psychologist gives her a great understanding of the human mind. She has experience of working with clients facing domestic abuse, narcissistic abuse, and coercive control.
Sue divorced at the age of fifty and subsequently built a successful academic career as well as her coaching and counselling practices. Since her retirement from academia, she has concentrated on supporting people through their divorce giving them the benefit of her personal and professional experience. Sue is co-founder of the Divorce Coaching Academy and The Family Transition Company. Sue was voted one of the 100 most influential women in the UK for 2023.
Tom Nash – aka Mr Divorce Coach, is an internationally certified Coach, specialising in Divorce, Separation & Family Coaching.
He is a child of divorce, a divorcee himself, a father, step-father & successful co-parent of his own blended family.
Tom works with men, women & couples, assisting in their emotional well-being, positive mindset and practical support through a clients divorce/separation.
Victoria is the head of the family law department at Aticus Law, Wilmslow, having over 20 years’ experience in the area of family law. She specialises in all aspects of family law including divorce proceedings, the resolution of complex financial settlement agreements, dissolution of civil partnerships, children disputes and pre-nuptial agreements. Victoria is a true advocate of resolving matters as amicably and as quickly as possible. She is known for her straightforward and honest approach whilst always offering assistance and support to her clients.
You can contact Victoria: email@example.com
Tamsin is a Chartered Financial Planner with over 20 years experience. She works with couples and individuals who are at the end of a relationship and want agree how to divide their assets FAIRLY without a fight.
You can contact Tamsin at firstname.lastname@example.org or arrange a free initial meeting using this link. She is also part of the team running Facebook group Separation, Divorce and Dissolution UK
Tamsin Caine MSc., FPFS
Chartered Financial Planner
Smart Divorce Ltd
P.S. I am the co-author of “My Divorce Handbook – It’s What You Do Next That Counts”, written by divorce specialists and lawyers writing about their area of expertise to help walk you through the divorce process. You can buy it by scanning the QR code…
(The transcript has been created by an AI, apologies for any mistakes)
Tamsin Caine 0:06
uWelcome to episode two of series seven of the Smart Divorce Podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about no fault divorce. So it was a year since no fault divorce came in, in England and Wales yesterday, and sixth of April 2022 was the date that it became law in England and Wales. And today we’re going to talk about the impact of no fault divorce, as it had the effect that we imagined that it would. And how can you go about having a good divorce? I’m joined by some absolutely fantastic guests who I know you’re gonna really benefit from today. I really enjoyed this conversation. I hope you do too. Hello, and welcome to the Smart Divorce podcast. I am delighted to be joined by three fabulous last professional specialists with me this morning. I’m going to ask them each to introduce themselves in turn so that you know who we’re talking to today. I’m Tamsin Caine from Smart Divorce and I am a divorce specialist financial planner. And I’m gonna crack straight on and introduce you to Sue Palmer-Conn, Sue, welcome. Thank you for joining us today.
Sue Palmer-Conn 1:22
Thank you for having me. I’m so Sue Palmer-Conn aka the divorce doctor and principal of the Divorce Coaching Academy. I’m based in Liverpool, and as long as being a divorce coach, I’m also a discernment counsellor to help people make that decision whether it’s the right one to get divorced, or not.
Tamsin Caine 1:43
Ah, okay, so that’s what a discernment counsellor. Fantastic Thank you, Sue, and thank you for being here. And next we have lovely Tom in his lovely yellow chair Tom Nash. Welcome. How are you today?
Tom Nash 2:00
Very well. Thank you. Thanks for having me back. Hi everybody! I’m Tom Nash. AKA, Mr. Divorce coach. I am one of very few male divorce coaches in UK. So myself and my colleague from Divorce Coaching Academy, Sue here are trying to change as well as we train more people to be divorce coaches and support people. My remit is where you have the triage or support of legal and financial my remit is in the emotional and practical support. Working with clients helping them to overcome negative emotions. We build confidence, self esteems through things like communication strategies, positive co parenting things that step families and blended families. That’s me.
Tamsin Caine 2:40
Fantastic. Thank you, Tom. And we’re recording this week after Tom has had his 15 minutes of fame appearing on This Morning. So we’re all very, very proud of him. If you want to go in there on the internet. I’m sure you’ll be able to Google and see Tom answering some questions on This Morning. And finally, last but not least, we are joined by the fabulous Vicki Richardson. Hi, Vicki. How you doing?
Victoria Richardson 3:07
Hi, Tamsin, I’m very good. Thank you. My name is Vicki Richardson. I am a specialist family lawyer in Wilmslow Cheshire. I’ve been qualified for 24 years and I know I don’t look it and I specialise in divorce financial matters and children issues.
Tamsin Caine 3:27
And the irony of you telling us that you don’t look it is not got a video on today because unfortunately, her internet is playing around a bit and she’s she’s got a kind of 80s Pop Video or black and white 30s film thing going on. So for those of you who are watching YouTube, you won’t be able to see Vicki, but she doesn’t look like she’s been in the industry for 25. So today, we’re gonna talk about no fault divorce because we are just yesterday was when we’re when this is released, would have been the one year anniversary of no fault divorce finally, coming into force in the UK, no in England and Wales should I say? So. Vicki, can I start with you? Could you tell us a bit about what no fault divorce is and how it changed things from from this situation that we had prior to prior to the sixth of April last year?
Victoria Richardson 4:29
Yes, that comes in. So prior to the sixth of April last year, you could only get divorce on one of five grounds of reasonable behaviour, adultery two years separation with consent, five years separation or desertion. So that brought with it a lot of acrimony in those cases that weren’t eligible for two years separation with consent divorce. So I would have many clients come in to see me dropping divorce papers on the table which is based on reasonable behaviour and citing. I’m not agreeing to that, blah, blah, blah. She did this, he did this. So from day one, there was acrimony between the parties. It didn’t hold itself to start things in an amicable way and trying to resolve financial matters. no fault divorce set out to change all that, in that the only ground now available for couples who wants to divorce is that irretrievably break break down. And the divorce papers literally state that the marriage is broken down? And a divorce should be granted? Alongside that the terminology has changed to make it more user friendly. But generally, I think it’s gone very well. I’ve seen basically all the acrimony go out of the actual divorce aspect. And that leads so much better to reaching a resolution with regards to financial matters, because the parties aren’t on top of the ceiling start off with a they’ve come off it a little bit. So yeah, it certainly worked well. From where, from where I can say, Yes.
Tamsin Caine 6:02
Fantastic. That’s good to hear. Sue what about your experiences, yours has been similar to Vicki’s
Sue Palmer-Conn 6:09
On the whole, yes, I mean, the majority of people try to keep the children in the centre and not put them in the middle. And so they’re working towards a child centred divorce. However, there are still some occasions when it doesn’t go as smoothly, you know, if one of the partners of Scott narcissistic tendencies, they still want their pound of flesh, and they can’t see why they have to agree to everything. Because, you know, they’ve got very black and white thinking. So everything besides the old, right or wrong, there’s no half measures?
Tamsin Caine 6:53
Do you tend to be working with the person who, who wants to try and resolve things amicably? And then you’re battling against somebody on the other side? who perhaps doesn’t? Or do you tend to work with the couple? Or how does it work with with your clients?
Sue Palmer-Conn 7:10
In the main, I work with just one person, and it’s generally the person that really, you know, is asking for help, and therefore, wants it to go smoothly. However, I find when I do work with couples, and it’s getting more common now, because as you know, people can apply for a joint filing for divorce. And so they’re actually now looking for joint help to get through the divorce. And that has been absolutely fantastic. Know that so much more cooperative. Even when you mentioned pensions, which was always the big bugbear before
Tamsin Caine 7:52
Yeah, they’re not getting their hands on my pension.
Victoria Richardson 7:54
I think what I would say is that, obviously, there are still cases where there’s lots of acrimony, and it to say the word hatred for the other party, but I think it all very much depends from Laura’s point of view how we deal with it from day one. So my advice to the client is, okay, I know you’re upset. I know. I appreciate that. But ultimately, I hate to say it, but the courts not bothered about that and not bothered about why your people your marriage has broken down and what the reasons are for your divorce. The court is very much looking at how do we stop matters from here with regards to finances and children. And therefore, you know, you have to put your feelings aside and try and concentrate on that. There will always be cases where one party doesn’t want to do that. And where you might have a controlling narcissistic person, which obviously brings its own issues. But yeah, generally on a whole, I think it has been beneficial for everybody to take to try and take the acrimony out of the divorce process.
Tamsin Caine 8:55
Yeah, absolutely. Tom, what’s been your experience post No Fault false coming in.
Tom Nash 9:03
Not too dissimilar to both the auto fix. And Sue, I think we’re all kind of in agreement, but for the most part, and for the majority. It’s been a great introduction of a way to lessen that can potential contentiousness and even, let’s say lower level conflict. And we’re talking about serious situations of various types of abuse here, I’m just talking about in the hole. I think what is also offered is again, for a larger proportion of divorcing or separating population, that those that wanted to go about their separation or divorce in an amicable way now have an opportunity, at least to do so. Even in most amicable situations on let’s say, the old way of doing things pre no fault divorce, even that in an amicable situation could cause some potential contentiousness because you would still have to note, someone has to be a good person so as to be a bad person. And even that could start and kick off some potential challenges and breakdowns and communication. So I think generally speaking as a whole, yes, something needed to change the old way, was the old way, because it was outdated. It wasn’t fit for purpose. So there needs to be something. Again, you can’t really understand as much as you can prepare for and all the rest of it. You can’t necessarily prepare prepare for all eventualities until you put something into practice. Much like hospitals, he was kind of touching on there, you are still going to have even regardless of things like personality disorders, like narcissism, and so on, and so forth, there are still I’m starting to see against those of the clients that come to me much of secrecy, they want to do something better, I won’t have a client come to me who wants to do things worse, because they won’t bother coming to somebody like me. Unless they’re coming for validation that they’re doing the right thing, they’re going to be told that they’re not showing that they’re not going to do the work that we do. And it does happen, but very BBQ between. But I think what I am seeing on the flip side of all the positives, what I am seeing is exactly what students were talking about, there are still going to be people out there that want their emotion, justice, and no fault divorce isn’t giving them that because they want to associate blame, they want to say, Hey, you did me wrong, you hurt me. So unfortunately, impractical, real terms. The outcome of that is, well, if I can’t stand up in court, or have it noted that you did whatever, you can think of your attention, you had an affair you did whatever it is, that will take other routes. So what I have started to see is an inclusive, where the negative party or the party that wants that emotional justice, in that respect, wants to associate some blame, they’re looking at different routes to attribute that blame. And that might be through dragging through the financial process. And going for more of the finances. Unfortunately, obviously the my passion area of working with CO parents and people with children and etc. Unfortunately, what I also see is quite a rise in the try and doing the opposite of what so and I’d say around putting the children at centre, not the middle, I see a lot of people that are doing the reverse is university that is weaponizing. That situation even more. So I’m not saying that that increased the amount of people that are doing that, I would say it’s just that the people that were probably always going to do that anyway, and now just doubling down. And it’s making things slightly harder for a lot of mums and dads who are trying to do it amicably that wants to work in a successful either co parent or even parallel parenting situation. Some of that is causing some contention for people. It’s just about how we work through it, and how we help them understand it and tried to change that narrative for people as well. So like anything, this with any change, there’s always going to be some good and bad meaning the aim would be to figure it out and work through it. And I think that a year on, we’ve seen or also that we’ve seen some really good positive shifts, it’s just a percentage of the market that is having a challenges or further difficulties that we need to really focus on. How do we now help deal with that?
Tamsin Caine 13:01
Yeah, absolutely. So how, how would you go about helping people who are feeling those things that tom toms explained? People are feeling where they’ve not been able to go? And you did that? And you did that? And you did that on a form? And therefore they kind of want somewhere to have their wrongdoings noted or, or recognised? I guess.
Sue Palmer-Conn 13:28
Yeah, that’s a really difficult one. But, you know, I tried to say to them, if you can’t be amicable, but at least be dignified. And that tends to smooth some of the waters because, you know, I try to get them to think well, in five years time, how do you want to look back on your divorce? How do you want your children to see you as a role model? Because getting divorced, is setting a role model for problem solving. And if they are going to be destructive, they’re not going to be good role models for the children, and they’re going to look back with horror, you know, did I really behave like that? Whereas if they are more constructive in the way that they they work, they’re gonna have very different feelings and they will heal faster. Because they’re not storing, you know, they’re not internalising all these negative feelings. And yes, people are disappointed when they’re not going to get emotional justice in court. But I mean, the whole point is to try and keep people out of court anyway. That shouldn’t be a win lose situation. It’s got to, you know, win. Everybody’s got to compromise in some, some way or other and it’s working with them to get them to see that compromise is not giving in.
Victoria Richardson 14:59
I think that’s a lot of what I see, when you have hostile parties, you see people who do see it as winning and losing. And no matter what they need to be seen to win. And what we advise all our clients is if you reach a settlement, where by both of you are not particularly happy with the agreement, then that’s probably the right one. So you have any winners or losers? Yeah, and especially where children are concerned, you know, and that’s very much get the line of the core, particularly with shared, shared, shared with shared ownership and ownership shared care, or
Tamsin Caine 15:41
I’m not sure we’ll be having shared ownership of children
Victoria Richardson 15:46
shared care of children, so reflect the fact that they belong to both parties, and neither party is a winner, or a loser.
Sue Palmer-Conn 15:55
Mind when you’ve got pawrents rather than parents, you know, when you’ve got four legged? It is shared ownership, isn’t it? Yeah. It can be just as contentious as shared parenting responsibilities of children.
Tamsin Caine 16:10
Yeah, it’s interesting, you should bring that up. Because me and Vicky just have just recorded an episode which will have come out in, in theory 6am Talking exactly on that subject of pets. Because they So, Vicki, you were saying that then there’s not legal, legal grounds in terms of pets like there is with children
Victoria Richardson 16:34
seen as possessions, really? They don’t have a persona in law, unfortunately, or maybe fortunately. Our arguments over the dogs that we will have over the children.
Tamsin Caine 16:47
Absolutely. So something that that comes up a lot. Particularly on social media, I find is, is about a good having a good divorce, and people feeling like they’ve done the wrong thing, because they’ve not been able to achieve a good divorce. Is there a way of I mean, good divorce is a, you know, it’s not a real thing. It’s a it’s one of those social media phrases, isn’t it? But is there a way of ever achieving an amicable divorce? If if your the other person in your relationship who you’re you’re divorcing has, has no intention of doing things nicely, and being in being friendly? Tom, what’s your what’s your views on that?
Tom Nash 17:38
Yeah, I think that that thing comes down to your own unique perspectives of what you see as let’s say, good, or, at least, if you can come away from things going to No, I did the best I could. I played the part I could play. It’s a bit like Michelle Obama’s old hey, if they go low, we go high, right? If you can, at the end of it step away. When you get through all the formalities, legalities, financials, everything’s kind of your new life is starting to settle in, if you can actually stand back from that. breathe a big sigh of relief and go, you know, what, actually, I did what I could in the right way. And I, I can live with that. And I feel that especially again, when children are involved. I have tried to approach this in the best way, I will continue to do so and set a good example that suicide a minute ago, and I have raised and I’m working co parents all the time to get co parenting don’t don’t think even think about here. Now. You’ve got three kids, let’s say your three kids have three kids, you’ve now got nine grandchildren, such as birthdays, graduations, etc. How do you want to co grandparent how you want it to be for your 25 or 35 year old son or daughter when they have to pick the seating plan for their wedding and decide who does or doesn’t come and I see it all the time with friends, family, colleagues, clients, when they’re put into those scenarios. I think if you can, I wouldn’t say I had a good divorce. In fact, it was really horribly physically and emotionally draining for everybody. What I would say is we have had a good outcome because we’ve all come away learning something, hold up a mirror to ourselves and go in the article. I don’t know you mentioned ITV this morning earlier for anybody that’s watching this go and have a look at the time Google Tom Nash and the times or even the horrible title that they gave it of I left my wife for a woman I met on the train. Please look past the title. Myself, my wife and my girlfriend did an interview the times a week ago. And it was about all three of us talking about our unique experiences, what it pertains to us physically, emotionally, practically the same single event. We all had a different view. We all had a different experience. But all three of us are able to step back and go you know what we all did things we’re not proud of. We all hurt each other. We all tried to put the boot and get our emotional justice but actually we have come through it, we’ve looked at what part we all played in there. And we’ve all learned from it to now do better to navigate, you know what, that’s not the right way to do it and is no longer lessons on how to teach our kids, collectively, all of us, and actually want to show them that sometimes adult relationships and marriages don’t work out. But actually, there is a different way and think about all these lessons that we try to teach our kids anyone’s here. It’s a parent that’s listening, love, compassion, and forgiveness. Don’t hold grudges, all those positive things that we teach our children, that we don’t go live up to them through our actions and behaviours as an adult. So actually, now what are we doing food showing on children? Like, oh, I can see actually mommy let yourself in and two dads and makes a cup of tea, I can see that they have a laugh and a joke together. And what are we actually teaching them about compassion, consideration of others, how to treat people and treat others, but also how to treat yourself and go to work. I did something wrong. I’ve learned from it and learn from my mistake, I can do better next time. That’s how you get not necessarily a good divorce, but a good outcome from it.
Tamsin Caine 21:07
Yeah, absolutely. Vicki, how do you approach somebody who comes to see you who wants their day in court who is determined for for a full on battle?
Victoria Richardson 21:20
Unfortunately, for those people, Tamsin, I’m quite honest and straightforward. So my job from day one, is to manage their expectations. So if I do have a client who’s quite irate, my job is to just bring them down and tell them how it would work. And they can be as irate as they want to be, but the courts approach is going to be completely same. So for example, pensions is almost always a very thorny issue, when people don’t want to pension shear. But, you know, my job from day one is to tell them how the court would approach things and what the likelihood outcome is going to be. So they know the position, and then to try and just negotiate them down quite a lot. And I, you know, I think that’s good advice, what Tom just said about not necessarily co parenting, but for grandparents. And I will say to clients, you know, you want your children to look back and say, we’re really proud of the way our parents handled their divorce. And we respect you know, I respect them for that. And I think by bringing in children and grandchildren, you’re making it more human and more realistic. And as Tom said, they want to be able to look back and say, Yeah, we did as well as we could in the circumstances. And as Sue said earlier, I love the word dignified. I’ve not used that before, but I’ll certainly be using it in future because you want to see yourself. And future really, no one wants to think that people think they’re undignified and uncouth. So yeah, so I think that’s a good way, you’re not always going to be successful, you know, but I think a big part of my job is from the initial meeting to try and set the tone. My letters, were never never going to be hostile to the other party solution, we always set out to try and be amicable. And I always say to clients, if you can, please notify your ex partner that you’re going to get a letter from a solicitor, because what happens a lot is the first thing the other party will say, I wish you could have told me so way, you know, you’re starting on the wrong foot. Whereas if you tell them that it’s not unexpected, and you know, you’re much more likely to have a good divorce rather than an unhealthy divorce. So it’s just managing expectations, really. And of course, everybody is different. Every character is different. And my job is learning quite quickly, what sort of character I’m dealing with and trying to address that straightaway.
Tamsin Caine 23:55
Yeah, absolutely. So you’ve talked a number of times, and Tom, Tom uses this phrase, and I use it as well about putting the children in the Centre for night in the middle. Can you just tell us a little bit more about how, how you see that work in practice how you would like the divorcing couple to you to use that idea to move forward?
Sue Palmer-Conn 24:19
Having a child centred divorce means every decision you make think, how is this going to affect the children going forward? What we don’t want is for them to weaponize the children and put them as almost like fire monkeys, if you’re talking in narcissistic terms, you know, sort of in a sort of using the children to to hurt the other parent. You know, especially if one partner has moved out of out of the home It’s very difficult for them to perhaps see the children on a regular basis. Or it can be made very difficult. Whereas if they think about what is this decision going to do to the children in the long term, especially their mental health, you know, if that if the, I won’t use the term alienating, very lightly because it’s, you know, it’s, it’s something that is really quite contentious. But if they’re not facilitating the children, seeing the other parent, and making it really difficult, that’s not going to do the child enabled in the long term. Because, especially if the if the parent that they live with runs the other parent down, the children are 50%, one parent of 50%, the other parents, so they, they’re sort of dissing the half of the child. And that has a really deep effect on them in the in the long term, and can damage their attachments.
Tamsin Caine 26:09
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s, you know, when when couples get divorced, they always talk about the concerns to the effect on the children. And yet, then, perhaps take actions that don’t actually reflect that thinking, because they’re, they’re not using that thought process that that you talked about earlier, which is making sure that every decision that you make, and every action that you take is considering what the impact on those on the children will be and think their recovery can be much quicker if if the parents are considering their, their position deposition throughout.
Tom Nash 26:51
But it’s a bit like the mirror that I was saying about earlier having to hold up to yourself, and it’s also exactly what Sue was saying, asking the question, actually, how is this affecting the children immediate, short, etc, long term, but then you really have to kind of re re ask the question again, several times to yourself, so okay, what how is this going to fit the children? And then is what I’m actually doing? Is that actually about me and my feelings? Or is that actually about what the children’s wants and needs are? Because no child grows up, disliking, or even hating, on wanting to be around one or another parent that that is? Apart from serious situations of abuse, of course, but in the whole, in general, that’s a learned behaviour. In a study saying that comes from our actions and behaviours. Sue’s heard me say it a million times before I’m for pronouns, it’s all over my LinkedIn. But when it comes to things like co parenting, there’s no place for parent pronouns when referring to the other parent. Is he him? Her? She? He always does that. She’s always, you’re already deep. Did you? Did you see him? Did you see her in the town, when you’re already you are undermining and deconstructing, and creating a lesser hierarchy of the other parent and child subconscious, your anger as a parent, whether it’s anger, hurt, whatever it is, that emotion morphs as you put it into the child, and it becomes their guilt, their resentment, their withdrawal rule. And exactly as Victoria was saying earlier, you will never know what you think you’re doing is to Fukuoka and you really get that feedback from your children. They’re your feedback of you doing a good thing. And if they are happy, go between the two homes, if they are happy, seeing both parents in a similar environment or even just for handover doesn’t have to be best friends. If they’re not, and they’re saying I don’t wanna go or whatever it might be that you aren’t gonna get the time like that. Because there’s confusions and fears, etc. But the unpacking that and understanding that, are you finding ways to work together? Not necessarily in the same room? It could still be separately? What’s the what’s the underlying thing? What is that? Is that why don’t we go? What’s the thing that something? How do we work with it? Is it about the environment, whether they’re staying, sharing a room, whatever it might be that how are we working together? For them? Not ourselves?
Tamsin Caine 29:11
Yeah, I was. I’m glad you brought that up, actually tough because you and me were talking the other day about a situation of, you know, very similar to that, that the the child who’s an, you know, an older teenager doesn’t want to go and see the parent anymore, you know, is about finding out what the reason is because normally, it’s not because of, of not wanting to see that parent, is it?
Tom Nash 29:33
No, no. I have a good example of someone who exhibit a teenage son from memory. He said he didn’t stop me going to down step was short term statements over the elderly parents when they got to the crux of it, but Mom quickly was saying that he doesn’t go do whatever we can start making the decisions, got them talking about it, and it was something so silly and simple. For me, it was the grandparents had quite an elderly dog and one of the sons day Over, he shared the room the dog stepped in his room, and he didn’t like the stinky old dog. So it wasn’t even my see Dad. It just seemed like things. Were just fumbling. But again, it’s trying to look at what what is it that’s causing it? How you can support it exactly as soothsaying not trying to use and go into the words bit alienation, but the facilitation, what obstacles might you be creating? Because, again, it’s about accountability, what what am I bringing to the situation? So actually, is the other parent being standoffish or quite negative in communications with me? Because actually, I’m always doing something that’s actually triggering that. So if I can be better and be different in my approach, well, then they can start to learn a mirror, and then we can start to find a way back again.
Tamsin Caine 30:48
Yeah, absolutely. So I had an example the other day, and I’d love your input in it, because I’m sure this is something that that comes up for, for more people than than just the person who brought it with me the other day. So my, the person I was speaking to was the was the moment I’m sure it happens the other way around, as well. And when the children were going to see dad, and dad, Dad’s girlfriend, and their children were always there, and the kids wanted time, just with just with dad. But mom was really struggling to, to bridge that with dad and the children were getting, we’re hitting a brick wall when they tried to discuss it with them, if you’ve got any suggestions as to how that could, how that could be resolved. Because I’m sure that’s a fairly common situation where the children just want time with their own parent.
Sue Palmer-Conn 31:41
It is it is common. And the only way to do it is to be direct, you know, for the mum, who’s having these feelings expressed to them to communicate directly with dad and say, you know, whoever it is, you know that they really would like to spend some quality time with you on their own? Is there any chance that, you know, even if you only take them out for a meal, just the two of you, or just the three of you? Just a short period of time, it doesn’t have to be the whole visit? Yeah. Because I think in a children, if they’ve not been used to being in a blended family, they’re going to feel almost usurped. Feel, you know, Dad’s living with this new stepchildren? Is he going to love me less. And they just want reassurance that times. Knowing that, you know, bad feelings to towards them haven’t changed at all. It’s just circumstances that have changed. But if Mum can explain that gently, not forcefully, to dad, then I’m sure things can be made better.
Tamsin Caine 33:07
Yeah, it is really difficult, isn’t it because the children have a relationship with their own parent. And the new the new relationship that dad has, isn’t one that they’ve chosen. And and that new person in his life is obviously important to him, but they want time. And you know, I’ve felt this myself, I’ve my parents divorced, I’ve wanted time. Just even now, as an adult, I would sometimes love to just see one, see my parents on their own without, you know, without my step parent being there, because that’s who your relationship with is with. I never lived with either of my step parents, they’re both fantastic people, I love them to bits. But sometimes I would like to see my parents without them being there. And, and I think it is important for, for parents to realise that that is the situation that that new relationship is really special and important to you, but isn’t necessarily going to be the same for your children.
Tom Nash 34:05
Equally, the it’s also about creating a space where the children, let’s say in this scenario that we’ve used as dance children equally start to create a bond and connect with the parents as well. So actually, they get some one on one time with just desperate mom and stepdad as well. But going back to what you’re asking students was about creating that kind of space, especially if you’ve got slightly older children, teenagers, how can you create a kind of family roundtable, supportive environment and then begin making consistence if you’re doing it once a month, or whatever it might be. So actually create a space where the children can actually come to it to especially not not if they’re quite young, of course, but within reason. But actually where they can bring that and create space to look at your data. This is the thing that I would like to do like, I want I just I would just want you to take me to football practice on Saturday morning for an hour. The rest of the weekend is fine, but I just want to know that my dad’s there. to sideline watching the back and do the other stuff afterwards. But again, include, like I said, kind of connecting less depth as well, like my, my obvious will and Mike and everybody Rico’s bond, and they’ve been watching Game of Thrones together, but they have like an episode a weekend or whatever. But that’s their thing, because they get an hour together, and they kind of do that. So it’s about everybody getting their own connection points, and to build that openness of trust so that you can build more on the communication pursue.
Tamsin Caine 35:28
So yeah, no, that’s really good advice. Thank you. I’m hoping that the people who were talking to me about today we’ll be listening to this episode. Becky, I’ve got a question for you. That came up the other day. And this is sort of relevant in in the kind of no fault divorce and fault divorce that we that we were talking about before. So there used to be five grounds as you, as you said, right at the beginning of the episode. And one of those was desertion. So I’m assuming that desertion min, if you had no idea where your ex was no address for them, no contact with them, no friends or family that could get ahold of them. And and you just didn’t know where they were, that you could, you could divorce them is, is there a similar process in in place now?
Victoria Richardson 36:19
No, there, there isn’t Thompson. Because the whole process for divorce now is under no fault. However, we I regularly, you know, have instructions and clients who don’t know where their ex is currently living, maybe it might have been a significant length of time since they separated, or their ex just won’t tell them because they just don’t want them to know. So then enters the very good, private investigator. These days, it’s actually very, very difficult to go missing, certainly with social media mobile. And so there’s only a small fee, private investigators can locate addresses for people very easily.
Tamsin Caine 37:04
Even if they’re not in the UK.
Victoria Richardson 37:06
There I use particular firm who have agents in different countries. So we have located people abroad. Yes.
Tom Nash 37:15
I have a question on that. Because, again, I know, I know exactly where you’re going with this. Because I had that exact question the other day didn’t know and this morning, I’ve seem to have since had several emails with a lady and trying to point out directions on how she, for that particular lady with a breach of confidentiality, this is almost 30 years, that she doesn’t know where her husband is. And at one point he was homeless. So we have no idea if he’s even alive or dead. And his last name address is 25 plus years ago, and he’s been homeless since so he has, as far as where he hasn’t worked. He has no social media footprint. She’s checked and looked. So what did she do?
Victoria Richardson 37:57
So in that situation, you can apply to the court for an order to dispense with service of the divorce papers, because you don’t know where your ex partner is. But you have to show the court and the judge that you have tried every other option, and you complete a very quite a detailed statement as to where their last whereabouts? Where have you tried to make inquiries of any family that you knew of where they used to work, whether there is some kind of trace in that situation where you know, you’ve got a party who may have been homeless and the trails gone cold, then certainly, you may well get an order to dispense with service at the divorce papers. So by the judge, we’ll just say carry on, we’ll have to presume that they don’t want to be found or unfortunately they’ve either died. So yeah, it is possible just along the process.
Tom Nash 38:51
So that’s the answer. I’m getting there. And I do caveat with I’m not a lawyer so hopefully I helped her that I’m just gonna send you her email
Tamsin Caine 39:02
she might be able to get Vicki on the private investigator guy. I love the idea that I’ve been watching. Strike so private, I’m all about private investigate moment. And if anyone’s not watched it, BBC iPlayer it’s absolutely built in series.
Victoria Richardson 39:20
I think that was an interesting job in the old days when they actually go and watch people you know, and then yeah, but I’m nosy so I’ve done it I’m sure it’s not as exciting in the real world
Tamsin Caine 39:31
It’s exciting on strike. Just before we finish, because we are coming to the end of our time together, I don’t seem to be able to speak today. Just wanted to go around all three of you just ask if you’ve got a tip for both trying to get through divorce in as friendly a way as possible. So Start with you, Sue
Sue Palmer-Conn 40:01
I think this is gonna be an obvious answer. I think, you know, get your emotions sorted out before you try and ask the legal and financial questions. Because if you are coming at it from an emotional knee jerk place, then you’re not going to hear the answers. And you’re not going to ask the right questions. So work with somebody that can help you to I won’t say get control of the of the motions, but understand the emotions, and can help you to formulate the questions that you need answering.
Tamsin Caine 40:42
Perfect. I love that. And that’s what I would always suggest as a starting point, because you can’t start making financial big financial decisions that will change your life. If you if you’re in emotional, emotionally charged state, can you, Tom, over to you.
Tom Nash 41:00
Well, Sue’s, already stole mine. In a similar way, Sue 100, right. Think about those professionals that can support you, right. So legal, financial, and emotional. What I would say in terms of before you’re even getting into that phase, or even washing their face, the other people you surround yourself with your personal support network, not just the professionals. But look at who’s around you, okay, and what parts of their experience their life, their narrative is coming into it. Look at the people that around you that maybe have been through a divorce or separation and have come out the other side more positively as opposed to negatively. Ask them, how did you get there? What did you do? What if you could go back and do it again? And know how to do it? Right? How would that what would that look like? And also start to look at how you can be more accountable, because you can’t change the other person, we can’t change and control their behaviours or their actions. All we can do is focus on what we do what we can control. So be brutally honest with yourself. And it takes it takes a big, brave, courageous person to step back and go, actually should have done that better. I could have been a better person here. Really look yourself, what can I start to do better, get that positive support network around you, if you’ve got people saying, take the house, take the kids take the car, etc, and stalking them off, and so on and so forth. That’s still coming from a place of love and protection, but that’s less about you and probably more about them. So actually look at positive people that you can model positive situations you can model. Think of it like if you’re starting a business, you wouldn’t go and ask for a business coach or replicate someone who had 100 unsuccessful companies and never made a penny. You look at the people that have been successful, what did they do? Right? So go and learn and learn and module correctly and positively. And be again, honestly self critical of yourself. But for a positive intention. How can I do anything better? What can I learn each time and just look at what you’re bringing to the situation?
Tamsin Caine 43:06
Perfect. And that’s great advice. Friend, Susan Lee, who who is often a guest on the podcast, quite regularly talks about, listen, by all means listen to your friends advice. But then question, put it into your context of your relationship. Is it relevant to you? And would they be following their own advice if they were in your shoes as well? So which I think is, is really helpful, Vicki? Last but not least again.
Victoria Richardson 43:36
Last, last, but not least, reiterate what Sue and Tom said, yes, so put your head down first, on your own motion. from an emotional point of view, I see so many clients who come to see me and cry for an hour, you know, with the best will in the world. While I do have to be empathetic, I’m not a counsellor. So, more often than not, I will send them away to go and get some counselling and come back to me because they’re in no fit state to listen to the legalities and practicalities. And I also reiterate what Tom said, be in a positive headspace, again, the number of clients I have and say, My friend got all the house or he got all the you know, fair pension. And straightaway, they’re expecting you to give them exactly what their friend got, even though it’s particularly you know, completely set of circumstances. I think one big issue or one that we haven’t touched on today, which is really important from a good no fault divorce is mediation. I always encourage all of my clients to go to mediation or at least consider mediation. Because obviously, wherever you agree mediation is so much better than having to fight it through solicitors or going through the process. A lot of mediators will do shuffle mediation these days so that you don’t actually have to sit in the same room if you don’t feel that you wish want to. But you can still reach in amicable agreement through that process. And I don’t think even now, it’s used as well as it should be. I think the lawyers and the courts to see whether more parties can go to mediation and look at alternative forms of dispute resolution to reach an agreement without using the court process, which, unfortunately, due to delays, can take up to a couple years at this moment in time. So certainly mediation would be my final tip to consider.
Tamsin Caine 45:29
Brilliant tip, I love that. And another option, I mean, there are so many options in mediation now aren’t there. But in other options, hybrid mediation, as well as networking, where you, you, you can be a lawyer in, you know, with your client, and the other person can have their lawyer with them for fear, that legal support but the book in mediation, and not necessarily in the same room as well,
Tom Nash 45:51
yes, then your child inclusive mediation as well, for those that have got slightly older children. So you can actually the mediator specifically trained to interact with children as well really understand their wishes and feelings to help both the parents see what their true perspective is from their kids. So can that can be really useful approach?
Tamsin Caine 46:11
Yeah, absolutely. There are, there are so many options available, I think, if you are going through divorce, or thinking about going through divorce, looking at all the options that are available to you know, it’s not as straightforward as as just going to this lecture. And that’s the be all and end all and your solicitor will definitely, if they’re a resolution person, tell you about all the options that are that are available to you
Victoria Richardson 46:37
how far I was, I was literally just going to say that and Tamsin I think. So I’m going to engage the lawyers is battle. That’s not how we work these days. You know, we do look at all the options, we want to reach things amicably. Yes, we may be doing ourselves out of costs and legal fees, but that’s not our job anymore. You know, our job is to advise our clients to the best viability and give them all the options and find the best one suitable for them. So by all means, take legal advice, ie the options available to you and not necessarily in relation to just the law.
Sue Palmer-Conn 47:10
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So the, you know, the resolution and are trying to persuade people to work together with one solicitor, one solicitor per couple, which obviously, as if that can work that’s going to be a lot easier than you know, two solicitors each trying to get the best for their own client.
Tamsin Caine 47:34
Yeah, absolutely. We’ve recorded an episode in series six anybody wants to go and listen with David Lester, who is one of the kind of spearheading this idea of if two clients one solicitor, if you want to go and have a listen if that then you’ll find out more about that thank you Sue for for reminding us of that. Well, thank you to all my guests today to Sue to Tom and Vicki I have really enjoyed today’s conversation. I hope you have as well. And we will look forward to seeing you again for our next episode very soon. I hope you enjoyed the episode of the Smart Divorce podcast. If you would like to get in touch please have a look in the show notes for our details or go onto the website www.smartdivorce.co.uk. Also if you are listening on Apple podcasts or on Spotify and you wouldn’t mind leaving us a lovely five star review. That would be fantastic. I know that lots of our listeners are finding this is incredibly helpful in their journey through separation divorce and dissolving a civil partnership. Also, if you would like some further support, we do have Facebook group now. It’s called ‘Separation divorce and dissolution UK.’ Please do go on to Facebook, search up the group and we’d be delighted to have you join us. The one thing I would say is do please answer their membership questions. Okay, have a great day and take care!
Transcribed by https://otter.ai