Susan J Williams Partner and Head of Family Department (Cardiff)
How to have a "good divorce" - top tips for couples and professionals
Recent data from The Office of National Statistics showed that during 2019, there was an increase in the number of divorces for both heterosexual and same-sex couples. In fact, it is the largest increase in divorce rates in the last five years.
Initial information gathered throughout 2020 suggests divorce rates are likely to continue to rise, due to the far-reaching impacts of Covid-19 and the pressure this is placing on relationships.
What is a “good divorce”?
From the 30 November to 4 December 2020, Resolution is running its annual “Good Divorce Week” campaign. In conjunction with their campaign, Resolution have produced a “tool kit” for professionals working in family law to consider when dealing with a divorcing couple to enable the process to be dealt with in a way that reduces conflict.
A “successful” or “good” divorce requires both the professionals and the couple to approach the process in a constructive way; working together to help things run smoothly and minimising the disruption that inevitably follows a relationship breakdown. As members of Resolution, we have shared some of our tips on how to have a 'good divorce':
What are some top tips for divorcing couples?
- Allow yourself time to come to terms with the changes that will be coming in your life and recognise that it will be a difficult time for you and your family.
- Surround yourself with plenty of support from family members, friends - and counsellors where needed. Don’t be afraid to seek the help that you need.
- Take your time to choose the right solicitor to guide you through the process. Your relationship with your solicitor is important, and getting it right is crucial in endeavouring to have a “good divorce”. Have an initial telephone call, video call or meet in person when possible, so that you can be reassured that the solicitor you chose is the right one for you.
- Minimise conflict by keeping the lines of communication with your partner open.
- Be realistic and reasonable in your negotiations. For example, do not expect to keep the house, car, private jet and holiday home – you will be required to proportionately share assets or their value and trying to keep hold of the majority of these assets may aggravate the other side and damage ongoing negotiations.
- Try to be on the same page as your partner regarding the children in order to work towards having a successful co- parenting relationship.
- Avoid discussing your divorce on social media and do not use it as a platform to vent your frustrations.
- Do your own research on government and charity websites and ask your team of advisors lots of questions so that you feel confident in the decisions that you make.
- Consider alternative methods of resolution such as mediation, collaborative divorce or arbitration. For more information regarding the new, welcome developments on arbitration, please read our recent article here.
- Focus on and plan for the future.
How can your lawyer encourage a “good divorce”?
Your carefully selected lawyer should also take responsibility for delivering a ‘good divorce’. Our lawyers are all members of Resolution, and strive to provide a service which reduces conflict. Your lawyer should be doing the following to contribute to a good divorce and be aiming to work with you as a team by:
- Encouraging positive communication at all times to reduce conflict.
- Encouraging couples to discuss issues between themselves to establish a positive way of resolving issues during the divorce process but also as a template for future resolution after the process has come to an end.
- Providing early advice, guidance and support that is clear, knowledgeable, realistic and understandable.
- Giving you honest feedback about the strengths and weaknesses of your case and avoiding unrealistic expectations.
- Being objective and exploring all of the options available.
- Recognising early what additional support you may need from a counsellor, therapist, financial adviser or other professionals
- Considering and exploring alternative approaches to resolving difficult issues such as mediation, or arbitration so that court proceedings are always the last resort.
The end of a relationship is never easy, and we hope that you find these tips useful in selecting your lawyer and achieving a good divorce.
As always, please contact any member of the Ince family team for further information, advice or assistance.