Guest writer Elissa Da Costa, Barrister, Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer,talks to Suzy Miller about divorce...
In the run up to Christmas a firm of solicitors starts selling ‘divorce vouchers’ for friends and family of the unsuspecting spouse to use to buy some legal advice. As the new decade dawns, Debenhams start running Divorce Gift Lists so that the newly divorced can inform their nearest and dearest that the ex got to keep all the household contents and they need to re-equip their new bachelor or bachelorette pad!! It seems there are bucks to be made out of the about to be and newly uncoupled with little thought for what it actually means to arrive at the decision your relationship has run its course, and perhaps in not the most dignified manner.
Divorce seems more popular than marriage if the media are to be believed. Matrimonial law is a mess evidenced by how often divorce cases hit the headlines of the tabloids which do not tell the whole story or provide an accurate picture. There is little publicity given to the many, various and dignified ways in which formally created relationships can be brought to an end. So where do you find out if you are thinking about ending your relationship? The Starting over Show (SOS) is a very good beginning because it brings together professionals and experts, all of whom believe in a qualitative life after divorce.
SOS with its first ever ‘divorce fair’ last year in Brighton was an amazing event that was not motivated by financial gain but, the brainchild of Suzy Miller, was designed to bring together all sorts of professionals and experts to inform those thinking about it, going through or emerging from divorce into the sunshine that there is life afterwards, albeit a new one. That it isn’t all doom and gloom and that we can all rise phoenix like from the ashes of those relationships and be better than ever before.
Many of the exhibitors were sceptical of the response to a ‘Starting over Show.’ Would anyone indeed show? Would we be wandering around all day just chatting to each other? Would we as exhibitors at such an event receive a hostile reception? All of our fears were assuaged as the doors opened and it was like experiencing the first moment of the first day of the Harrods sale! The hoards were greeted by lawyers, financial advisors, family therapists, life coaches, personal stylists, massage therapists, mediation and meditation experts, indeed experts covering all aspects of mind and body. The pool of resources was amazing and simply to mix barristers with brass bands and accountants with acupuncture was sheer genius providing a cocktail of expertise that lifted the spirits of everyone attending. Lawyers offering free advice! Unheard of! Next to the queue for the barrister was another crowd at the Mystic Housewife’s stand for a glimpse of what the future might hold! All was extremely positive.
If asked what functions SOS performed last year, the answer is easy. It assisted members of the public by offering-
Help in decision making
Knowledge of the ramifications/impact on families and individuals
Knowledge of the cost – financial and emotional
Awareness of non-legal services/agencies and organisations to make the process easier
The SOS one stop shop provided an afternoon where likeminded people came together to pool their knowledge and expertise to help others and to demonstrate that however traumatic relationship breakdown can feel, there is a wealth of help to smooth the path towards that new beginning. The Starting over Shows will take place this year on 7th March 2010 at the Hilton London Metropole from 10 am – 6 pm and at the Hilton Brighton Metropole on the 28th March 2010, from 10 am to 6 pm. Please join us!
© 2010 Elissa Da Costa
Suzy Miller is a single mother of three who created the first UK 'divorce fair' last March in Brighton, which was featured in Wogan's 'Thought For The Day' and received positive International Press coverage.