The end of a marriage is life-changing for all involved. It can bring with it hurt and devastation, acrimony and recrimination. We have all heard stories of how these emotions and hurt can spill over into the legal proceedings. Where there is acrimony, it is universally acknowledged that the legal costs involved in divorce and separation will invariably be higher than where the parties adopt a collaborative and amicable approach.
An amicable divorce is not possible in every case. It may be that one party is behaving abusively towards the other or trying to hide or dissipate assets. In those cases, it is not always possible to deal with matters by agreement and contested proceedings before a Court will be necessary to protect a client’s interest.
However, for a great deal of other cases an amicable divorce is possible even where emotions are high and parties cannot seem to see eye to eye on anything. It is worth a party remembering that they will not always feel as hurt and betrayed as they do now and that continuing acrimony through lawyers is rarely productive and can be costly. If possible, try to envisage how you would like to look back on this part of your life; you may find solace later in knowing that you have behaved in a dignified way and tried not to get dragged into the mudslinging because of heightened emotions.
We believe it is our duty as divorce lawyers to help you navigate the best path for you; to look at matters strategically on your behalf outside the prism of emotion. We have decades of experience and the good judgment to guide you in the right direction.
Here are some tips to remember if you want to try to achieve an amicable resolution to the breakdown of the marriage:
Pick the right solicitor. Try to engage a solicitor who is going to help you achieve amicable resolution and can best advise you as to whether this is possible in your circumstances.
Collaborate where possible. Try to collaborate for the best outcome for your children. It is likely that the children will want a good relationship with both their parents without having to feel that they are disloyal to the other parent for doing so. That being said, time with a child should not be carved up simply as a way of satisfying both parents’ needs to see them. The focus should be on what the child’s needs are and that includes their stability and security.
Engage with the process of financial disclosure as early as possible. Try to see if financial disclosure can be agreed on a voluntary basis so that negotiations can take place to reach financial settlement outside the Court forum. This will only work if both parties are prepared to commit to this, but it will ultimately save on legal costs for everyone.
Think about your options before petitioning for divorce. Ask whether a fault based divorce is really necessary or whether it may be possible to wait until a less contentious non-fault based ground becomes available.
While efforts can be made by you to achieve an amicable settlement, remember that it takes two to tango. If your spouse does not want to behave amicably or is using the Court process to continue abusive behaviour then you alone cannot cause the divorce to be amicable.
Ultimately, this phase of your life, though stressful, will not last forever and you should be reassured that brighter days will come. Looking after yourself is the very best thing that you can do as that will help you weather the storms of breakdown and enable you to be robust enough to help us steer the right course for your future.
Should you require advice or assistance on matters regarding divorce or financial settlement following separation, you can contact Claire Edgar on firstname.lastname@example.org, Karen Connolly on email@example.com or Emma Stratton on firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss the best options available for you.