Divorce can be a difficult, and often lengthy, process. But it is possible to achieve a ‘good' divorce. This week Resolution are running their annual Good Divorce Week campaign for 2020. With that in mind, our specialist Family lawyers look at the top tips to help achieving a good divorce.
Whilst sometimes easier said than done, if you can, try and keep the lines of communication open with your spouse or partner. Should your communications with one another become strained, or argumentative, set yourself some boundaries. Outline what you’ll communicate about directly, or whether certain issues should only be discussed in mediation, or through solicitors.
In the same vein, children should be kept out of adult conversations about separation, finances and to a certain extent, the issues about arrangements of spending time with each parent. It is very easy to forget about the impact the divorce might be having on the children. Although divorce will end your marriage, it won’t end the relationship between you as parents and you are likely to be in each other’s lives for some time.
Find the right lawyer
Divorce is a very personal matter, and you should instruct a lawyer who suits you. You might not ‘gel’ with the first lawyer you meet with, and that’s perfectly fine. You’ll need to know that you are being listened to and that your lawyer is guiding you through the process with your best interests in mind. Sometimes, your lawyer will need to give advice that is difficult for you to hear. It is important that you can trust that your lawyer will be transparent with you, so that you can manage your own expectations and be realistic.
The overriding objective of the court is to achieve a fair outcome for both parties, taking into account all relevant circumstances. Whilst the starting point for division of assets is equality, 50/50, there may be reasons to depart from that starting point in favour of one party. Often, it is difficult to accept that the assets would need to be divided anything other than equally, and that after divorce both parties need to make economies. Being realistic as to the assets that are available and how those can be divided to best mean everyone’s needs, most importantly the children’s, is going to make the process easier to navigate. It is also worth remembering that money spent on legal fees is going to effectively reduce the amount of money available to you.
Reach out for support
The emotional trauma of a divorce can have a lasting effect and whilst lawyers are there to support clients through the process, it may be wise to seek professional support from a counsellor or therapist (not least because their hourly charges are likely to be cheaper than your lawyer’s!) You can also lean on friends and family, but understand that they will going through their own process of dealing with your divorce as well.
Other options than court
Court proceedings, while they can be helpful and set clear parameters for all parties, are not the only answer when looking to sort out finances or disagreements about child arrangements. There are other options including mediation, collaborative law, arbitration, even direct discussions if you and your spouse are able to do this.