Whether you choose divorce, mediation, arbitration or collaborative family law, the way you listen and respond to your partner during the process of separation can make a huge difference to the outcome.
(Successful) dispute resolution is not about getting your own way or dragging your ex through the mud… Instead, it should be about surmounting the issues that got you to this point and finding a way to go your separate ways with a positive outlook. Listening and respecting each other’s point of view is a massive part of this – you don’t have to agree with each other, but you owe it to your relationship to at least hear each other out.
While out-of-court methods like mediation and collaborative family law focus more on negotiation and discussion, good communication skills will also put you in a good position to approach court divorce or arbitration effectively and efficiently. Here are just a few reasons why listening to each other can facilitate a good outcome for separation:
- Feeling like your opinion has been heard and understood makes you more confident about your decisions;
- Listening to each other can dissolve antagonism and aggression, making it easier to discuss difficult issues;
- The more you listen, the faster the separation process is likely to be, meaning less stress, less cost, and a more positive outcome;
- Listening and validating the other person’s views doesn’t mean you’re backing down or letting them have their way; it’s simply a respectful acknowledgement that will allow you to keep the conversation moving forward;
- Being listened to by an objective third party such as a mediator, arbitrator or counsellor can be extremely helpful in allowing you to work through tough decisions;
- When communication has broken down in a relationship (sometimes over many years), it can be hard to re-establish a dialogue. Co-operative methods of separation like mediation offer the opportunity to discuss your separation on neutral ground;
- If you have children, listening to each other’s point of view is an integral part of developing a co-parenting relationship following separation;
- Listening to each other is not about deciding who’s right or wrong – but it can help mediators, arbitrators and solicitors to help you find the right solution for your situation, individually and as a couple;
- Don’t forget to listen to your solicitor or mediator too! You may already have clear ideas about your separation but the advice and guidance of an expert is invaluable during a difficult process.
If you’re in need of a solicitor, mediator or arbitrator who will listen to you needs and support you through the process of separation, get in touch with the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co – we’re here to take the weight off your shoulders. We offer a range of fixed-fee legal services across the Thames Valley, including Maidenhead, Marlow, Henley and Beaconsfield.
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