I was reading some very positive stories in the papers last week about couples who sadly decide to separate but who retain enough respect for their former partner to throw a “divorce party” or to share divorce photos online with friends and family.
In contrast, I wanted to update you on the Jean Claude/Britannia separation.
It has now been over seven months since my initial meeting with Jean Claude. It is fair to say that both of them have not coped well with the breakdown of their relationship. For now, they are both continuing to live under the same roof but sadly it looks as if the breakdown is irreparable.
Both appear to have remained upset and cross with the other for what has happened. They have been playing a blame game and claiming that they can live completely independent of the other.
Jean Claude was also particularly upset to see Britannia recently hand in hand with another man, who lives in a large white house, while on holiday in the US.
Despite my attempts to encourage Jean Claude to look at all other options to court, it is Britannia who appears to be looking for a “clean break” and a “hard Brexit”. This goes against how family lawyers try to encourage their clients to proceed – to step back from the relationship difficulties and to try to preserve the assets available for both of them, and at the same time ensuring that some form of communication is maintained, for the sake of the children. Whilst money issues can be dealt with by a “clean break”, both parents should carry on providing emotional and financial support for the children.
Britannia has now said that she will issue formal court proceedings by the end of March in a process that may take at least 2 years. The emotional and legal costs are likely to be very high and neither will have control over the outcome.
It is such a pity that Jean Claude and Britannia were not able to consider the alternatives to court including mediation, the collaborative process and private arbitration. It is quite possible that, had they felt emotionally able to do so, all of the issues would have been resolved by now behind closed doors. This would have avoided starting what is likely to be a very “messy” divorce, sharp words being said, and with every step carried out in full public gaze.
Time will tell how matters are concluded, but I cannot realistically see that, at the end of the process, they will feel ready to throw a divorce party or post divorce photos online.
*As imagined by Julian Waldon, mediator and collaborative lawyer