The role of friends and family in navigating divorce, separation and co-parenting

Originally published on 12th March 2024 at 10:22 AM
Reading time: 3 mins
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We’ve launched our friends and family campaign to help shift the social narrative from divorce being a damaging event, where taking sides is inevitable, to something that can be achieved amicably with children’s best interests and our own mental health at heart.

We understand that divorce or separation can be a challenging journey, but it doesn't have to be a destructive one. With the right support and guidance, couples can navigate this transition amicably, focusing on cooperation and respect rather than conflict and animosity.

As the friends and family of a separating couple, it’s important to acknowledge that our words and actions can impact their separation.

It's common for those going through a divorce or separation to turn to their friends and family for support and advice. Whilst intentions may be good, the impact of our words and actions can sometimes be detrimental to the success of an amicable separation, divorce, or co-parenting relationship moving forward.

Examples of unhelpful phrases include:

  • "You should take him/her to the cleaners"
  • "You need an aggressive solicitor"
  • "My friends divorce was a horror story"
  • "My lawyer said.."
  • “You’re entitled to…”
  • "You need to take him for all he/she's got"
  • "Make sure you get the… house/kids"
  • "I never liked them anyway"
  • "You should burn his/her stuff"
  • “He/she’s a narcissist”
  • He/she’s a psychopath”
  • “What if she stops you from seeing the kids?!”
  • “He negotiates for a living, lawyer up, and protect yourself!”

We get it. You mean well. But when someone you love gets divorced, saying these things does more harm than good.

Pushing separating couples towards adversarial legal processes, such as using separate lawyers or going through lengthy and expensive legal battles that end in court, has a hugely negative impact on those individuals, their children and families and, of course, their wider support network.

That’s where we come in.
amicable is a legal service that makes divorce kinder and simpler. No demonising. No aggression. Just better outcomes for everyone.

What’s our campaign?

We’re taking to the streets of London with our taxis and the underground. You’ll also hear us on the radio.

We aim to help friends and family of those separating to be able to provide them with the tools to better help their loved ones and to reduce the number of acrimonious separations.

You can listen to our radio ad below:

5 Tips to help you support your loved ones going through a separation:

1. Avoid taking sides:

It's natural to want to support your loved one during a difficult time, but taking sides can create or inflame tensions and make it harder for the couple to reach an amicable resolution. Try to stay neutral and support both people as they navigate this change. Have an open conversation about how best to do this - for example does one friend need to know when you socialise with the other or can they just accept you will continue to see them both without telling the other.

2. Avoid bad-mouthing:

Negative talk about the other person can fuel resentment and escalate conflicts. Instead, encourage positive communication and focus on finding common ground rather than dwelling on the past.

3. Respect boundaries:

Respect the boundaries set by the separating couple, especially when it comes to discussing sensitive topics such as money and property or their children. Avoid prying for details or offering unsolicited advice, as this can strain relationships and undermine their efforts to remain amicable. Remember, the couple may see their separation as a positive, new beginning.

4. Be mindful of any children:

If children are involved, it's essential to prioritise their wellbeing and minimise the impact of the divorce or separation on them. Avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of them and be supportive of efforts to co-parent or collaborate.

5. Offer support, not judgment:

Instead of passing judgment or offering unsolicited advice, offer your support and a listening ear. Let your loved ones know that you're there for them no matter what and that you believe in their ability to navigate this process with dignity and respect.

We believe that with the right support and guidance, couples can achieve a peaceful and amicable separation or divorce. By being mindful of the influence, they have on the separated couple, friends and family can play a crucial role in fostering a positive environment conducive to cooperation and mutual respect.

We’ve written a full guide which you can read here or listen to our advice in this podcast episode.

Read More

Start your amicable divorce journey

Speak to an amicable Divorce Specialist to understand your options and next steps for untying the knot, amicably.

Book a free 15-minute consultation

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