I must admit, I felt quite sad when learning about the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce in the news.
After 27 years of marriage, the couple decided to end their relationship. They posted on Twitter: “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple.” What struck me most is that it seems like a very amicable divorce…
… This got me thinking, what lessons can other divorcing couples learn from the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce? I am a huge advocate of amicable divorce. Not only is the financial strain of divorce lessened, more importantly, an amicable divorce lightens the load on the emotions.
Long, drawn-out battles in the family court often leave people bitter and can be highly destructive. It’s often worse when children are involved.
A great deal of thought
What surprised me about the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce was a sentence in a joint statement the couple posted on Twitter, which said: “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”
The pair obviously tried to work at their relationship, but ultimately thought that it was for the best to divorce. Rarely does getting divorced have the agreement of both parties.
However, what is sad is that the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce adds to a growing list of wealthy people getting divorced and people divorcing in later life. In recent years, the divorce rate among the over-60s is the only demographic where separation is on the increase.
Nevertheless, there is a lot that can be learnt from the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce when it comes to divorcing amicably.
The Bill and Melinda Gates divorce lessons to learn
Put aside your grievances
Deciding to end a relationship can be traumatic and chaotic. Plus, it can be tricky to navigate emotionally. To put you on the right track to an amicable divorce, it’s important to put your differences aside, as hard as it might be. The longer you hold on to grievances, the more difficult you will find it to settle things.
Don’t rush things, take your time
The first hearing for the Bill and Melinda Gates divorce is not until 14 May. They don’t appear to be in a rush, and they are navigating things slowly. This is a good lessen to learn. It’s not always the case that divorcing couples are in the same place emotionally when starting proceedings.
You may have been thinking about ending your marriage for a while, yet your partner has no idea. It could come as a complete shock to them. In this instance, it’s probably best for you to separate for a while rather than diving straight into a divorce.
If you don’t give it time, and try to force the issue, your partner is likely to resist, which result in delays. Give it time to sink in.
Look at your options together
There’s a hugely common misconception that the only way to divorce is through the courts. However, divorcing can be done in many different ways. I for one am all for keeping divorce out of the courts!
Divorce can be settled through negotiation, mediation, arbitration or collaborative divorce. Mediation in particular can help to settle things such as child arrangements, finances and assets, and other matters without the need to go to court.
Arbitration is another avenue that happens privately, as opposed to in the courts, where an ‘arbitrator’ is appointed to decide the case.
What’s important to remember is that out of court options are often far quicker, more cost-effective and flexible than going through the courts. You and your partner will each have their voices heard, which often results in a fair settlement for all.