The 3 important needs amicable couples have in divorce

Checklist showing 3 important needs of divorcing couples - support, knowing the process, knowing what to do

There are 3 important needs most divorcing couples have. Finding a way to meet these needs will help couples reach their goal of an amicable divorce.

Four-hundred years ago, John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself.

While his language could be more inclusive, the idea that we can’t do it alone is spot on. We need the support of those around us.

This is especially true for those going through a separation or divorce. In fact, recent research1 reveals that the need for support is the number 1 need divorcing couples have.

This research revealed the 3 most important things people feel they need in their separation and divorce journey are:

    1. Support from a third party
    2. Knowing what the separation process involves
    3. Knowing what to do next.

1. The need for support from a third party

The support of a non-biased person is felt almost universally by those going through separation and divorce. Over 97% of participants in the study indicating that one of their main needs was the support from someone who could look at the separation objectively.

They weren’t necessarily looking for someone to act as mediator or arbitrator, but to provide an objective perspective—to provide a “sanity check”.

There’s a problem, though.

In the traditional adversarial approach to divorce, lawyers fight for the best outcome financially for their client. If you don’t have a lawyer who actively promotes a collaborative process, you may find it difficult to maintain your intention to keep things amicable. The nature of representation means that each of you will almost certainly get conflicting advice about who is entitled to what. Those seeking to divorce collaboratively don’t want to blow up the relationship for the sake of more money, but they do want a settlement that is fair to everyone involved.

For couples looking to separate amicably, the best outcome is one that is fair financially and emphasises the process of working together. There’s a good chance the separating couple want to maintain a working relationship as there may be children involved, so war in the courts is not the answer.

Friends and family can provide much-needed support, but their “closeness” and emotional involvement means the support can hardly be called unbiased. Despite their supportive intentions, few friends or family members can look at the situation in a way that gives the separating couple the objective perspective they crave.

2. The need to know what the separation process involves

An overwhelming majority of the couples expressed a need to know what the separation process involved. Divorcing couples need the process to be clear, they need everything laid out so they can make sense of it.

Unfortunately, more than half of those starting out on the journey don’t know what the divorce process involves. And without this knowledge, they’re likely to experience the six stages that most divorcing couples go through—and, like most people who try to divorce amicably, they’re likely to end up trapped in limbo, without any clear resolution to the separation.

It’s difficult enough dealing with the emotions that go along with trying to separate without the added frustration of navigating an unknown process. It’s hard to approach things with confidence without a clear path and with no idea what the process looks like.

It would help if there were positive stories out there. Seeing the journey that other’s have taken would help. Seeing what the process looks in real-life would give confidence and clarity to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Tracing a beginning, middle and end to the journey would give hope that your story could end positively, too. But there doesn’t seem to be many stories like that out there.

3. The need to know what to do next

Knowing what the process looks like is important, but only as it translates into knowing what to do next.

No one wants to feel like they’re fumbling around in the dark, especially with something as significant as a marriage break-down. There’s serious consequences of getting parenting plans and financial settlements wrong. It’s life-changing not just for the couple, but for the children of divorce, too. You don’t want to feel like you’re making it up as you go along.

And it’s not as if time automatically brings knowledge. Many couples in the study had been separated for more than 3 years and still didn’t know what to do.

If this describes you, know that you’re not alone.

Nearly 1 in 5 of couples in the study said they had absolutely no clue how to proceed. Overall, 71% did not know what to do next, with only a quarter of participants claiming to have any idea of what to do next.

A solution that meets the needs

Divorce is a difficult journey even when these important needs are met, but too often those going through it are left on their own, with no guidance, and no clue what to do next.

Those starting their divorce journey deserve better. Children of divorce deserve better. Those who have been on the merry-go-round for too long deserve better.

It’s why we created Adieu.

At Adieu, you’ll find the support you need from trained coaches who will empower both partners with the knowledge and tools to collaborate and reach an amicable divorce. We’ll take you by the hand give you a roadmap of what to expect so that you know what to do.

Find out more about our commitment to walk with you every step of the way so that together we can find the best way of helping you reach the end of your divorce journey.


  1. ^ Living in Limbo: The Separation Experience in 2018 ^