The second most stressful life event is divorce (according to the Holmes and Rahe Scale*) coming second only to the death of a spouse. Marital separation comes third on the scale, just ahead of imprisonment.
It is not difficult to understand why divorce and separation are so stressful. There are so many big decisions to be made, and practical issues to be sorted out; not to mention the worries about the impact upon the children; all whilst dealing with your own rollercoaster emotions.
The constant stream of decisions to be made, and the vast array of options to consider, can easily become incredibly overwhelming, at a time when you are likely to be highly emotionally vulnerable.
It is important, although perhaps not easy, to seek out, and accept support at this time. The level and type of support needed will of course be different for everyone. Both emotional support; from friends, family, counsellors, support groups, and practical support; from financial advisors, estate agents, welfare benefit advisors and legal advisors, may be needed. However, when you are feeling stressed and emotionally overwhelmed, it may not be easy to ask for, or even know where to look for such help.
Family mediators have knowledge of good local services and agencies, and are able to direct you to those appropriate for you.
The family mediation process will support you to narrow the overwhelming array of options, by supporting you to discuss and explore the reality of each, and to eliminate those which will not work for all; so that constructive discussions can be focused as quickly as possible on the most viable options.
Facing uncertainty about your immediate future can be extremely unsettling and worrying, not knowing where you will be living; whether you will need to move to a new area; whether the children will have to move school; how you will manage financially etc. The sooner these questions can be answered, the better, so that you can begin to plan for and adjust to your new future.
Single issues that may take weeks to negotiate through solicitors correspondence, or many months to be addressed through the court process, can often be resolved within one mediation session, through supported direct discussions. Very often, a delay in issues being resolved, results in people becoming increasingly frustrated, and more likely as a result, to become entrenched in their position, and increasingly less willing to negotiate.
Divorce and separation are stressful enough, without adding in the emotional and financial stress of legal proceedings. Considering that a single joint mediation session is likely to cost you less than the court fee (to commence proceedings) alone; and that even if not all issues are fully resolved through mediation, you will have narrowed the options, saving time and legal expenses; you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by giving mediation a go.
*The Holmes and Rahe Scale is a list of 43 stressful life events that can contribute to illness.