Can you ever have a ‘good’ divorce?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Divorce on Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

Yes, you can.

Whilst it might sound like a paradox, it is possible to have a civilised parting of the ways following the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. That’s not to say that it will be easy; ending a relationship never is, but there are steps you can take to minimise the pain and suffering that’s bound to surface along the way.

Try to maintain a reasonable relationship

Although in order to reach your goal you’ll need the cooperation of the one person who’s not guaranteed to be in the frame of mind to give it, it’s important to keep conflict and rage to a minimum, and move beyond blame.

Whilst they are entirely natural emotions in the circumstances, they can get in the way of finding the right solutions that will enable you ultimately to get your life back on track.

Be open and upfront about your assets

Assembling all the information needed in order to reach a financial settlement will help ensure proceedings go more smoothly. Delaying providing the requisite details, or trying to minimise or hide assets only serves to make the negotiations more difficult and prolonged.

Whilst they are entirely natural emotions in the circumstances, they can get in the way of finding the right solutions that will enable you ultimately to get your life back on track. Be open and upfront about your assets Assembling all the information needed in order to reach a financial settlement will help ensure proceedings go more smoothly. Delaying providing the requisite details, or trying to minimise or hide assets only serves to make the negotiations more difficult and prolonged.

It pays to be realistic in your demands and aim for a fair split of assets. (You should be aware that contrary to what you may have heard, the ‘wronged’ spouse isn’t entitled to more of the marital assets). Your goal should be a reasonable settlement that allows you to move on in your life; whilst you shouldn’t give too much away, neither should you fight for every last penny as a way of achieving retribution.

The children’s needs must come first

You need to be open and upfront with your children from the moment you decide that your relationship is at an end. They will need to be reassured that they are loved, and are not to blame in any way for what has happened. It’s important that they continue to have a relationship with both parents, so it’s best to try and avoid making any derogatory remarks that might be seen as alienating the other parent. They need to see both parents working together as a supportive team.

How mediation and collaborative law can help you avoid court

While many bitter divorces end up in court, there are other options that can be less confrontational. Since April 2011, there has been a requirement that before proceedings can be issued in the Family Court, both parties must attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) in order to explore the possibility of resolving sticking points between them, by working through them with a trained Mediator, rather than going to court.

Mediation isn’t designed to sort out relationship issues, it isn’t marriage guidance counselling by another name. Instead, it’s a process that is designed to help both parties address the issues that they need to agree upon, enabling them to find ways to resolve them, so that a way forward can be established.

Collaborative Law enables couples who have decided to separate or divorce to work with their lawyers to agree a settlement that meets the needs of both parties. Each party engages a trained, specialist collaborative lawyer. At the outset, the parties and the lawyers will enter into an agreement not to commence court proceedings.

They then meet in a series of face-to-face, four-way discussions to negotiate and agree upon key issues such as arrangements for the children, or the details of the financial settlement.

Ending the blame game

It would be fair to say that the law as it stands makes for confrontation, as spouses are forced into the situation of blaming each other, unless they are prepared to wait until they have been separated for at least two years in order to get a divorce.

They then meet in a series of face-to-face, four-way discussions to negotiate and agree upon key issues such as arrangements for the children, or the details of the financial settlement. Ending the blame game It would be fair to say that the law as it stands makes for confrontation, as spouses are forced into the situation of blaming each other, unless they are prepared to wait until they have been separated for at least two years in order to get a divorce.

In December, the government’s consultation on introducing no-fault divorce closed. The results are expected to be made public in the spring. Many people will have their fingers crossed that the government responds to the need for measures to make no-fault divorce easier and quicker.

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