Can DIVORCE And FAIR Be Used In the Same Sentence?
August 22nd, 2014 by Families First Mediation

As a mediator and separation coach I hear this statement all of the time “this isn’t fair”.

As a person who went through a nasty divorce I myself thought many times “this isn’t fair”.

What is fair though? Fair to whom? Fairness is subjective and we each have our own idea of fairness. What I think is fair to me, may not what you think is fair.

Life is not fair




  I read this quote today and I thought it was very appropriate for this blog post,

“Fairness is protecting not only you but all who are involved.”

  Well that is a tall order!

  Protect yourself – Yup, got it.

  Protect your kids – No problem there.

  Protect your ex – Wait, what? No thank you.


Would now be a good time to remind you that you chose him/her? That you chose to have kids with this person? That at one point in time, you loved this person with all of  your heart?

If being fair is about protecting all involved that may also include extended family. Can you picture trying to keep your mother-in-law in mind while sorting out the parenting schedule or deciding if you want to pay back half of the loan that she gave you to purchase the house? Tough job, but someone has to do it.

I know, they may have treated you badly, done something unforgiveable or may not be acting like the person that you once loved but why should that change the person you are? Don’t let another person have that much power over you.

You know what I’m going to say, we teach our kids this at a young age when they can’t have every toy that they see in the store…LIFE IS NOT FAIR! Why on earth would you believe that divorce is fair? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely idea and sometimes it does happen, more in mediation than in court has been my experience.

The reality is that it is often tough to get to a place where you think that any agreement is fair, and it takes a lot of work, soul-searching, frustration and conversation to get you there.

10 things that are not fair about divorce:

  1. You have to make decisions with your ex that may act like a total jerk
  2. Family Law is often not fair and needs to be updated with the times
  3. Doing the right thing can make you seem weak
  4. It costs a lot of money to get legal representation to fight for your rights
  5. You have to deal with the consequences even if you didn’t initiate this
  6. People DO use their kids as bargaining chips
  7. Your lifestyle will change
  8. You may have to pay your ex a lot of money that you believe is ‘yours’
  9. Your kids have to go through a divorce right along with you
  10. You will have less time with your kids

Is Divorce fair? Of course not but then again not a lot of things in life are fair. This is the hand that you’ve been dealt and you need to do the best you can. (Tough love?)

You had made decisions together as a family in the past and you can do it again in the future. It’s important to remember that you won’t always be in the emotional, frustrating and sometimes costly place that you are today.

What do you want your future to look like? You need to look past today and think about what your life could look like in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years. Even think about what it will look like in retirement, have you properly addressed your needs while looking out for others?

The idea of fairness can be managed during the divorce process, even if the reason for the divorce doesn’t seem fair at all. What do you need? What does you ex need? What do your kids need? Can you find a way to resolve the issues so that everyone wins instead of everyone or someone losses? That seems like it would be fair.

I can assure you that being unkind, unfair, unwavering and uncooperative (even if this is exactly what you want to do) will not make you feel better. It will not help you through the divorce process and it certainly won’t reflect positively on you if/when your kids are old enough to understand. Things that happen during divorce live on forever, the good and the bad. How you and your ex handle your divorce really does have a huge impact on how well you (and your kids) move forward.

People that believe they were treated fairly during divorce have an easier time moving on.

In order for divorce to be fair you need to know what your idea of fairness is and share it. You also need to ask what your ex’s idea of fairness is. If you can achieve each other’s idea of fairness during your divorce process you will probably come out the other side in a better place than if you didn’t have a common goal of being fair to each other.


Julie Gill


Families First Mediation & Separation


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