I have been involved in over a dozen cases over the last couple of years where couples have decided to separate and avoid going to court. There seem to be many advantages to this, not least retaining control of the decision making process and coming to a point where an understanding is reached about how to co-parent post-divorce.
Whilst it is seldom an easy process each partner having their lawyer present with someone like me (a “Family Consultant”) to facilitate/manage dynamics & tensions
seems to enable progress where it may otherwise have stalled.
The couple seemed unable to resolve their differences and both were adamant that they were standing their ground in the interests of their child. It was difficult for the lawyers to name “the elephant in the room” without alienating the other client & making a difficult situation worse.
As a non-legal neutral I was able to ask the “stupid” questions which quickly revealed intransigencies on both sides to be positional & largely self-interested. Using humour & challenge the couple reached a point where they were able to acknowledge their interests as well as those of others concerned. This was the basis for a mutually acceptable settlement. All that was left was to decide who was divorcing who. There was no clear blame either way & again it looked like an impasse. I half-jokingly said they could always toss a coin. They looked at each other & laughed & suggested “rock, paper, scissors”!
What a great outcome & basis to move forward for something that could have ended up in court & been potentially far more costly both financially & emotionally.