Richard and his wife had two sons, one was quite young and one was a teenager, at the time of their divorce. He and his wife had been married for over twenty years. Richard was keen to explore saving the marriage but his wife wanted to move forward to a divorce. His fractured relationship with his boys has since been restored.
What I wish that I had known:
That the “collaborative law” process is not cheap, even if it is reasonably cheerful; my ex-wife and I spent a total of about £50K between us to extricate ourselves from our marriage (against my wishes).
The low point:
I sometimes felt in the “four-way” meetings that I was being ganged up on by the entire group of women in the room (including my own solicitor representative); I felt that no-one ever really tried to persuade my ex-wife that it might be a viable alternative to try marriage counselling, or even mainstream mediation. Her own solicitor appeared dead-set against any such attempt.
The certainty that I did the right thing and the one thing I would do differently:
I have no such certainty; I still believe that we could have found a way through our differences, with appropriate professional assistance, but I now regard my ex-wife as having given me a huge opportunity to build myself a happy life apart from her. What I would never do again is tell my children that we had agreed to separate, when I had, in effect, been booted out; the fall-out from that, in terms of my relationship with my two sons, has yet to be fully resolved, although subsequent openness and honesty on my part has, I believe and hope, helped to heal the wounds.
The best advice I was given:
The best advice I was given was to go through the penury of starting again with a massive mortgage to buy an apartment now worth half as much again as when I re-mortgaged up to the hilt! The resultant “clean break” meant that I kept my pension pot, now worth twice what it was then and fully accessible, thanks to George Osborne (for whom I have never voted!).