Divorce is an incredibly painful and sad event for any couple. Many find it challenging, often impossible to part in an amicable way that is kind to each other and less traumatic for any children involved.
Bhavna Radia lives in Hertfordshire. Bhavna has three children with her ex husband. Their children are now 10, 15, and 19 years.
The end of the marriage was a decision I reached after lots of thought.I believed that we were not compatible anymore although my ex husband felt that we could make things work.
As you can imagine, we were both quite emotional to start off with. It wasn’t an easy decision for me. We had been married for 15 years and had three very young children (ages 9, 6 and 18 months at that time). There is also a massive stigma in the Asian community around divorce which puts pressure on you to continue in your marriage even if it isn’t working. I knew that my family, friends and society would frown on divorce.
Despite all this, when I made it clear to my ex husband that the divorce would be happening we spent hours talking through everything and he understood that this was something I needed to do.
We didn’t rush into starting any formal divorce proceedings. Instead we allowed our emotions to settle over quite a period of time. We made a short term plan so that living arrangements were agreed. We agreed what we would do around finances over the next few months.
This gave us time to go through some of the stages of grief before dealing with anything else. At this point, I really worked on my emotions and mindset through NLP therapy and counselling. This help me work through pain and devastation that I was experiencing with the relationship coming to an end. I felt that my dreams, hopes and future plans had all been taken away.
At this point my children were 9 years, 6 years and 18 months.I had given up my work as a family solicitor so that I could look after the family while my ex-husband progressed in his career. Because of this I had a fear of the future and how I would manage financially.
We agreed we did not want the stress and cost of court proceedings or to use solicitors, as we feared this would add hostility. My legal experience meant that I understood the process.
After unsuccessfully using a mediator we kept working through the practical steps. Plans for contact as well as the financial settlement, always placing the children as our primary focus.
Whilst we agreed the basic arrangements for my ex husband’s contact with the children, I left it open for both him and the children to spend more time together and that parenting could not always be squeezed into a schedule.
We have enjoyed days out and travelled abroad together as a family since we have separated. We celebrate the children’s birthdays together. We visited Corfu and made sure we each had some time alone with the children and some time away from everyone. In Rome we celebrated my eldest daughter’s 16th birthday. It was a surprise trip for the children.
My eldest daughter struggled the most being nearly 10 years old and she did need help from a professional. My 7 year old daughter would voice that she loved both mum and dad. As long as they both loved her she was fine. We both hoped that if we could stay amicable then the children would be minimally affected.
As a a single mum of three very young children, I really struggled with how I would cope on my own. I was really fearful of the future and how I would manage financially. I wasn’t working and the children were so young.
Divorce is emotionally traumatic. The legal process makes everything harder. Nothing was offered to couples who didn’t want separate solicitors but wanted comprehensive divorce guidance. Mediation did not fully engage a couple because the sessions are so far apart in time and the mediator does not fully support throughout.
After fully understanding how difficult divorce is emotionally and financially, this is why as a former solicitor and mediator I wanted to find a better way to help couples.
Through my legal and personal experience it was important to me that I offer people a different, more amicable way to divorce. I now offer services to couples so they can achieve divorce with kindness.
With my guidance, couples can work together and cooperate to deal with everything from the legal divorce, plans for the children, agreements about assets and finances, through to the practical aspects of the separation. I include different therapy sessions so couples arrive with a better mindset. I also arrange sessions with a financial adviser to empower them before discussion.
Whilst the divorce process was so difficult it allowed me to work on my mindset, what I wanted for my life and I was determined to come out of it in a positive way. I think there are a myriad of reasons that led to us being able to have an amicable divorce.
Right at the beginning we gave ourselves quite a few months to settle in the emotions of the separation prior to trying to reach any agreements. We spent time talking through our relationship and accepting each other’s thoughts and behaviours. This was only possible because I had worked on my mindset and getting different help with my emotions such as NLP and counselling.
We agreed to reach agreements ourselves with the needs of the children as our primary focus so we minimised adding hostility. It wasn’t easy and there was still huge amounts of pain and emotions through our discussions. My family law background definitely helped.
I allowed the children to see their dad as much as possible.I believe that whatever happened in our relationship, it should not have any bearing on their relationship, as long as they were safe and happy.
I hope we can continue to navigate our way through this journey. As separated parents hoping to do the best by our children. Some day we will be watching our children graduate, get married and have children of their own. My hope is that we can both be present in the children’s lives.
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