Divorce and Separation Matters: Unreasonable Ex-partner?
Divorce and Separation Matters
We all want to reach a reasonable compromise when we are in a dispute. I am a divorce lawyer and family mediator and I am writing about the difficulty of compromise in disputes about children.
Parents are pressed to find the middle ground and reach an agreement. So, if you are a person who can compromise generally or who seeks to avoid conflict, you can be put under great pressure to meet the other parent midway. However, this is a problem if the other parent really is unreasonable, putting their needs and wishes far ahead of those of the children, or they are seeking to prolong disputes. Sometimes you can find that no matter how much you compromise, another problem emerges.
It is difficult to know whether you are the hypersensitive or unreasonable one, especially at the point of a break down in the relationship. Be rigorous yourself, make sure that you have tried genuinely to compromise, test your position carefully against friends and legal advice. Encourage friends to challenge your views.
New partners can be an area for dispute. When is it acceptable for your children to meet and spend time with a new partner? The answer depends on numerous factors, including how long it is since the separation and how well the children have adapted to the new arrangements, the personality and nature of the new person on the scene and their importance going forward. There are no clear answers that fit every situation. Whether you are negotiating by discussions, mediation or through the courts, it is important to be confident that your position is reasonable, and that you are clear where you can and should compromise and what is a ‘no compromise’ area
The role of the court has changed and Judges are increasingly likely to aim to conclude a case as quickly as possible. This can mean parents under even greater pressure to reach agreement at court itself. This can be very positive if it prevents people using the court process cynically to cause stress to the other parent, or to try to re-argue the same point over and over again. However, if you have a real difference that cannot be compromised, you need a judge to make a clear and detailed decision. It is essential to be well prepared before going into court. If you do need to use the court, you need to be clear about your position: where you could and should compromise, where you will not compromise. You need to have a clear strategy, and to understand the parameters of what to expect from a judge- what is the best and the worst that the judge may order – as this will guide your decisions throughout negotiations and any court case.
Specialist Family Lawyer and Mediator