One of the big worries when entering divorce proceedings is how much stress it will place on the separating couple and the impact it will have on any children. We hear a lot about nightmare divorces, but can there be such a thing as a good divorce?
After separation, many people try to deal with a break-up alone, deciding to leave the chance of an amicable divorce up to fate. Many attempt DIY divorces using online divorce firms without considering the implications it could have on the whole family in the future.
What Needs to Be Considered in a Divorce
When a couple separates, there is a lot to take into consideration. You will need to discuss the division of assets, finances, possessions and pensions, as well as the living arrangements of any children, where they will go to school and when they will visit other family members.
An agreement needs to be reached in relation to finances, which needs to be set down in a clean-break consent order to stop the parties from making further claims against each other in the future.
The problem with many situations like this is that intentions and decisions made at the beginning of the divorce process are often not fulfilled. This usually results in conflict, emotional distress and a breakdown of communication.
It is then difficult to progress with the divorce process, negotiate terms rationally and ensure you and your family are looked after in the final settlement. Your chance of a ‘good divorce’ diminishes.
What is an Amicable Divorce?
An amicable divorce is where a separated couple come together to make reasonable decisions, despite the fact they no longer get along and do not wish to be together any more.
It can be viewed as the couple placing the importance of their family (mainly children) at the centre of their decision-making process.
While it will never be easy, approaching divorce in the right way can help to reduce conflict and streamline the process, allowing you each to move on as respectfully and efficiently as possible. If you can achieve this, you have achieved a good divorce.
What is the Best Way to Achieve an Amicable Divorce?
The best way to achieve an amicable divorce is through early legal advice. Legal advice at the early stages of separation will promote a friendly and long-lasting resolution of the issues for all parties involved. Taking this approach to the divorce process is also likely to avoid expensive court proceedings.
The best thing to do is find a solicitor who is a member of the family law association, Resolution. Resolution is an organisation of lawyers and other family justice professionals who are committed to following a non-confrontational approach to resolving family issues.
These members will work to the Resolution Code of Practice and therefore will have the best intentions to support you through an amicable divorce.
What Can You Expect from a Resolution Member?
The Code of Practice followed by Resolution members promotes a constructive approach and considers the needs of the whole family, particularly the best interests of children.
This means you can expect a Resolution member to:
- Listen, be honest and treat you with respect.
- Explain all the options and give you the confidence to make the right decisions.
- Help you focus on what’s important in the long term.
- Help you balance financial and emotional costs with what you want to achieve.
- Work with others to find the right approach and the best solutions for you.
- Manage stress in what can be an already stressful situation.
- Have the experience and knowledge of Family law to support you through the divorce process, to be a Family law specialist.
Tips to Help Achieve an Amicable Divorce
1. Choose the Correct Solicitor
Divorce is a very personal matter, and you must have trust in the solicitor advising you. Your solicitor should be someone who listens to you and fully understands your views and objectives. During a divorce, a solicitor’s role is to guide you through the divorce process as efficiently as possible, always with your best interests in mind.
Take your time when choosing a divorce solicitor, and read reviews written by clients. Most firms will include a page with a bio on their solicitors, so you can find out more about them, and you can also visit the Resolution page for a list of accredited solicitors in your area. A lot of family law firms will also offer a free initial consultation for you to meet with a solicitor before you instruct them.
2. Put your Children First
During divorce proceedings, it is quite easy to forget about the impact that the divorce can have on your children. Children are as resilient as they are perceptive; it is very important to shield them from any conflict that may arise between their divorcing parents.
Although divorce will bring your relationship as a couple to an end, it will not change your relationship as a parent. Children should not be leveraged and should not be exposed to the proceedings.
Your children’s well-being should be a main priority as you will need to settle on where they will live, where they will go to school and other requirements regarding their maintenance. When negotiating finances, provisions for the children’s upkeep should also be a main priority for both parties.
You will always have to maintain some form of relationship with your former spouse in the future for the sake of the children, remember there will be potential weddings, graduations, and grandchildren in the future.
3. Reduce Conflict
There are many ways for separated couples to keep conflict to a minimum. Once the divorce process has begun, you may consider living apart or minimising the time you spend together.
Try also to resist the temptation to make any allegations, begin the ‘blame game’ or spread rumours. This will not help your situation, and it’s important to keep in mind that the purpose of divorce is to formally separate.
4. Research Alternative Resolution Methods
Attending court is not the only way to deal with financial and child issues at the end of a marriage. Usually, court proceedings are expensive and distressing. Not to mention time-consuming, and you will generally need to follow a schedule set out by the courts.
There are many alternatives such as mediation, arbitration and collaborative law, which can offer a faster, cheaper, more private and dignified way to reach a settlement with your ex-partner.
Your solicitor will discuss your situation and options with you. However, finding a solicitor trained in collaborative law is rare, and only certain firms, such as Howells, have specialists in this area.
Another alternative route is through no-fault divorce. No-fault divorce was introduced in 2022 and allows couples to divorce without assigning any blame. Under this system, couples can get divorced on the basis that the marriage has broken down, without needing to state one of the five reasons, as was previously required. No-fault divorces should increase the chance of an amicable divorce, as it removes the need to assign blame.
5. Get Support
The divorce process is tough and can affect you emotionally and mentally. While divorce solicitors are accustomed to assisting clients through difficult periods, you may consider seeking additional specialist support from a counsellor or therapist.
It’s also important you seek support from friends and family and not try to deal with the whole divorce process alone. Your solicitor will be there to support you every step of the way, but they will not be with you at home.
Family Law Specialists at Howells
Howells Solicitors is one of the largest family law teams in the region, with a number of Resolution-accredited solicitors as well as solicitors trained in collaborative law. Howells’ Solicitors also specialise in matters involving complex financial settlements and issues involving children.
To arrange for a free initial consultation you can contact our new enquiry team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website or call us:
Sheffield: 0114 249 66 66
Barnsley: 0122 680 51 90
Rotherham: 0170 936 40 00
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