Have you ever been through a divorce? Whether or not you have, divorce is so commonplace these days that you’ll have some awareness of the agony it perpetuates. Acrimonious or amicable, it’s usually traumatic and in the same stable as bereavement. And when divorce gets into a drawn out court process, fuelled by combative lawyers, the effect on all concerned is toxic.
My Page 1 Woman has created an ingenious business designed to eradicate conflict in the divorce process. She’s on a mission to kick it right up to government level to change the culture of Family Law.
Her name is Suzy Miller, also known as the Alternative Divorce Guide. And she’s created ‘a travel guide to stay-out-of-court divorce’. But isn’t court attendance necessary for divorce? Well, that’s the common belief. Surprisingly it’s not true. Now here’s the thing. The UK Family Law world is already set up to assist divorcing couples without them having to attend court. The trouble is, it’s under publicised. So the old school court and battle based image of divorce persists in the media and therefore in our collective mind set.
But there’s a revolution in family law afoot and it’s driven by Collaborative Law. This is a legal process that enables separating and divorcing couples to reach a settlement that’s good for both them and their children without the threat of contested court hearings. Not only is it client focused but it’s non-adversarial too. It helps to limit the nasty effect of relationship break up on children. Originating from California in the 1980s, places such as Australia, Canada, USA and some European countries have started to embrace it. It hit the UK shores in the early nineties. Now, there are around 1,250 trained collaborative lawyers in England and Wales.
So where does Suzy Miller and her Alternative Divorce Guide fit into this revolution? Suzy’s all about speeding it up. Her light bulb moment came when she stumbled upon the world’s first ever divorce show, hosted in Austria. Shocked by a line-up of exhibitors that included DNA testers and private detectives, Suzy set up the UK’s first ever ‘divorce fair’ (as billed by the press) otherwise called ‘The Starting over Show’ in 2010. Her motivation was twofold;
- To steer divorcing couples ‘towards the people they really needed to talk to’ rather than those who exploit conflict.
- To bring together mediators, collaborative lawyers and life coaches – professionals who were providing better ways through the divorce process but who few people knew about.
A life coaching fan, Suzy’s had first-hand experience of the pain that’s intensified by the divorce process. It damages children long-term, gets in the way of sustainable agreement and costs individuals thousands in lawyer fees. ‘It seemed logical to me that if someone worked with a life coach they would be able to see what they really wanted to happen and whether they had a healthy end goal’. But few collaborative lawyers appreciated how life coaching could take the venom out of divorce. So it made sense for Suzy to connect them all up at the ‘Starting Over Show’.
In just a few years, Suzy has demonstrated the power that a woman on a mission can unleash.
- She’s collaborated with the Ministry of Justice in promoting mediation
- Collected information about services for divorcing individuals that would make the journey less stressful, and offered them in her ‘ Divorce in a Box’
- Developed the Alternative Divorce Guide web-site and network, for both UK and USA markets. By giving the bigger picture about divorce, it allows parents to ask, ‘Do I want to fight it out and let out my aggression and misery at the cost of my kids?’
In Suzy’s own words, ‘I’m the guide. I’m saying, ‘Here is the map. Here are the different people who can help you and here’s the information you need to make a reasoned and healthy choice’. She sees it as encouraging people, and particularly women, to take responsibility for divorce rather than handing it over to a lawyer and risking disaster.
With a background in film and television, and the mother of 3 teenage children, Suzy is a woman with boundless energy, courageous, fearless, totally focused and proactive. She gets an idea and makes it happen in record time – the type of person you might label ‘super business woman’. And she says that she operates with such drive because she doesn’t have a boyfriend at the moment to take up the time she would rather spend on her business. ‘It’s just so much easier’, she says, ‘because I’m free to be myself.’
And what of the future? Suzy is clear, she wants to change people’s journey through divorce everywhere. She wants the Alternative Divorce Guide to be recognised internationally as the go-to place if you’re getting divorced. ‘…because it’s the go-to place that will steer you in the correct direction and not just to feed the fees of a select few law firms that can afford to have the highest Google rankings.’
Discover the Alternative Divorce Guide Directory – by clicking here.
To find out how Winning Pathways Coaching can help you establish a life after divorce, sign up for your 30 minutes exploratory session here.