Frances’s husband had built the family’s fortune through his success in the financial markets. However, the stress of this lifestyle created a fraught relationship and eventually, after fifteen years of marriage, Frances thought there was no alternative but to separate, anticipating their twelve-year-old son sharing his time between their homes. They used the collaborative process to reach their divorce settlement.

The low point:

This was when we were on holiday my husband of nineteen years wouldn’t take a photo of me because he thought I was a disgrace. He said to me with disdain, ‘You need to take a look at yourself’. I was completely devastated after years of being put down. I went to look in the mirror and saw a beautiful, attractive woman with a warm glow for life. Five years later, a divorce behind me and maybe a couple of pounds and a wrinkle more, I continue to be that attractive woman and celebrate the freedom I now feel.

The certainty that I did the right thing:

I am certain that finding a divorce process that took away any feeling of a fight was the right thing for me. I needed to be divorced and I needed transparency during that process for my sanity and peace of mind. Collaborative divorce brought both of us, our lawyers, accountant and financial adviser, around the table and kept the financial separation as factual as it could be so that decisions could be made with as little bad feeling as possible.

What I would have done differently:

The break up of a twenty nine year relationship was an extremely painful business and envisaging my future seemed impossible. However things could not remain as they were. Rediscovering who I am and managing my own future after this process has been a very rewarding part of my life which, however emotionally challenging at times, I wouldn’t have done any differently.

What I wish I had known then:

This is not a question for me. Life for me has been a journey and I’m not sure that I would have known what to do with the knowledge I have post divorce, pre divorce. I only know things now because of what I have been through!