Last month was a busy one for me as I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Mariella Frostrup, a respected journalist and broadcaster, and Michelle Jana Chan, Vanity Fair’s Travel Editor. Unfortunately, it was not a face-to-face conversation – Zoom was the norm again – but it was a fascinating exploration into the forces that are changing our relationships. This talk will be the second in Vanity Fair’s The Future Of… series.
This series examines issues that are common to all of us and shows how they are changing and adapting. The series is focused on relationships, which I find fascinating as a family lawyer. We don’t expect every family to be a cohesive unit, and we are not surprised that there are couples in civil partnerships or unmarried couples. These are now commonplace, and the evolution of family and relationship models has been rapid.
Our discussion naturally touched on the effects of coronavirus upon relationships. We acknowledged the severe toll it has had on many couples. However, it has been a source of joy for me to see how many of my friends and clients have tried their best to make these difficult times work. One hopes that a relationship will last longer than the immediate circumstances.
The topic of changing perceptions about separation is what interests me at the moment. This led to a lively discussion in the video. I believe people no longer accept the one-way way of separation and must take into consideration all the opposition and antagonism that comes with the court divorce process. Clients and others who I have spoken to are open to exploring other options and recognize that their relationship will likely continue after separation. This encourages a more conciliatory and measured approach.
Family lawyers have a responsibility to educate couples about the many options available for separation. They should also encourage them to explore all of them.
Communication is the point
Family lawyers are often asked why relationships can end in grief. Although there is no one answer, I can tell you that communication problems are the most common reason for relationships to end in grief. This is to simplify complex issues. However, I have found that inability to communicate important information about a relationship can have a major impact on its durability and can even lead to a separation.
My job involves helping clients to disentangle themselves from relationships that are ending or have ended. Communication can become difficult at this point. A couple may have a certain style in how they interact with one another. This can lead to conflict and even enmity. People naturally seek out security in old habits during times of crisis. It can be difficult to break destructive cycles.
My clients need to be able to recognize their conflict styles and understand how they react when stressed. With that knowledge and the belief that they have control over and can change how they react, my clients can make decisions that will help them communicate clearly, even on difficult topics. They can become more aware of themselves and see the big picture, which allows them to move beyond conflict and into the future. The focus can now shift to the future and find a solution that suits their needs. It can make a big difference in the outcome of a case and the way it progresses. It is an important part of my job.
Sometimes the issue is more than just the communication between the separating couples. The lawyers representing each side of the family law lawyers surrey bc are another important line of communication. Communication between lawyers can be just as important as the way their clients communicate with them. Lawyers who represent divorce clients are known for being aggressive and argumentative. This approach is detrimental to their clients as it leaves them open to criticism. A lawyer’s most important task is to help clients achieve the best outcome. Persuasion, more than writing angry letters, is an essential skill. Persuasion is as much about listening as it is about telling.
Establishing a functioning level of communication can help to create solutions and be a springboard to a couple’s future relationship. These can have a significant impact on their children’s outcomes and can help couples reach a compromise in regards to how the finances should be handled.