One story dominating today’s headlines is the announcement that the former footballer and presenter Gary Lineker and his wife Danielle have divorced.
In a statement, a spokesman for the couple said that the ending of their marriage was an amicable decision and both Gary and Danielle will “remain the greatest of friends and wish each other every happiness.”
To add further confirmation that the decision to end their six-year marriage has been an amicable one, Gary Lineker today tweeted:
"Thank you all for your kind words. @DanielleBux and I had many wonderful years together. We remain very close and the greatest of friends."
According to their spokesperson, the couple who married in 2009 filed a divorce petition together, which again shows that they have reached this decision harmoniously. While the marriage was Danielle’s first, this is Gary’s second marriage following his divorce in 2006 after 20 years of marriage to Michelle the mother of his children.
If a marriage can be ended amicably it will save a great deal of distress and heartache, and in many cases, money. This aside, there’s no denying that divorce or separation can be one of the most stressful times of your life, particularly if there are children involved. According to research last summer from one of the UK’s leading relationship support charities, Relate, almost six in 10 (58%) of separated parents surveyed in a poll do not believe in the idea of a ‘good separation’.
So, what are the best steps to take in aiming for an amicable separation?
As family lawyers, we can categorically say that no two relationship-breakdowns are the same, different suggestions will work for some and not for other – it depends entirely on your individual circumstances. Here are some of the more generic steps that we advise:
Communication is always key
First and foremost, one important aspect of any relationship breakdown is communication. Doing so correctly will limit your chances of causing disagreements and distress. Even if you do not agree with certain aspects of your partner’s decision to end the relationship, try listening to their opinion and responding in a cool and calm manner. This is vital to successful communication. When a person has reached a decision, regardless of how much you retaliate or object to that decision, it’s likely that they will go ahead with what they have set out to do.
If you are the person deciding to end the relationship, how you communicate this is also very important. Before making any announcements think clearly about the reasons why you have decided to end the relationship in order to communicate these to your partner in an honest and calm way.
In the modern day of technology, we hear more and more about individuals choosing to end their relationship via email, or phone. If you have reached the decision to end a relationship, always be mindful of the other person’s feelings. Sit down with them, and along with your thought through reasons, end the relationship face to face.
Although sometimes much easier said than done, if you are receiving the news that your partner would like to end the relationship, try to remain calm. How you react now will determine how the following weeks, and even months will plan out. Avoid starting the process of separation in an angry, distressing way. Ensure you give yourself time to digest the news and if necessary, take some time out to yourself to think. A great way of processing somewhat unexpected news is to surround yourself with family and friends who are likely to support and listen to you.
Here at Crisp and Co, while we do all that we can to ensure we minimise the emotional distress on all members of the family involved in a relationship breakdown, an amicable separation can sometimes be out of reach. Fortunately there are other options and approaches that you can take if you are struggling to reach a decision together. Using mediation or collaborative law helps to open the communication channels helping both parties to reach an agreement.
If you are considering this approach, or have reached your decision together and are wondering what steps to take next, a member of our team will happily discuss your options moving forward in a one-hour free and non-obligatory consultation.