Lucy – Ashford, Surrey
Adultery, mediation, DIY divorce, telling the children
(Names in this divorce story have been changed to protect privacy)
When I found out that my husband had had an affair I was 6 months pregnant and very vulnerable. I didn’t initially leave my husband and for a while we visited Relate services and tried to resolve issues within the marriage for the sake of our 3 children. However once this was exhausted and I realised the marriage was unsalvageable I decided to gain help in order to understand my rights and entitlements.
I went to see Diana who was very supportive and helped talk through the emotional side of things. Once I had made the decision to leave my husband I needed some sort of direction as to where to start… the finances, the divorce or the children? Diana helped me immensely with this and helped me see the wood for the trees and understand the different processes involved with divorce etc.
She also put me in touch with various key people who would help me along the way… so our financial mediator who was very good in the sense of giving us a set price for 4 mediation sessions and encouraged us along the way to come to a decision together for settlement which we thankfully did… it was a rocky and sometimes emotional few months however I am proud to say we came to an agreement in the end which suits both of us.
The solicitor Diana referred me to has been brilliant and gave me the strength to push in the mediation for the ownership of our family home and encouraged me in every way to ensure that me and my 3 children will be protected for as long as possible.
I was worried about telling our 3 children that they had a half-brother (from their father’s affair). We had individual meetings with Gill Cashdan, and then one joint meeting, when she gave us good advice about how children think and the language to use with them. I knew it was important to be honest with the children, but not how much we should say. Gill explained the extent of the truth to tell, and what was acceptable to say without it appearing that I was blaming their father.
Telling the children didn’t go exactly as planned and the children were quite confused, so I’ve had questions to answer since. (As well as being told by my 7 year old, who’s been brought up to ‘care and share’, that I’m selfish as I “didn’t want to share daddy with another woman”!) I was thankful to have Gill’s words in my head to be able to reply, and I would definitely recommend her to parents who are splitting up.
Diana encouraged me to manage my own divorce to save money, which I have done. The whole thing has cost me about £4,500 and taken just over a year from start to finish.
You might also be interested in reading the ‘Legal Structure of Divorce’ a two-minute guide to divorce proceedings.