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    30 November 2020

    What is a ‘Good Divorce’?

    This week, 30th November to 4th December 2020, marks Resolution’s Annual “Good Divorce” week but is there such a thing as a ‘Good Divorce’ and what does the term actually mean?

    The term ‘Good Divorce’ may seem odd. Often, the word ‘divorce’ tends to conjure up negative connotations, rather than positives. For many, divorce is seen as regrettable and can have a stigma attached to it.  Relationship breakdowns are rarely happy affairs.  Emotions are often running high and it can be hard to deal with such a big change to the family unit.  Children often become caught up in the middle.  There is then the wider family and support network to consider. Everyone will be affected in different ways.

    Whilst getting a divorce is never going to be easy, approaching it in the correct way can make the process more bearable.  The key is to try and reduce any conflict between you and your spouse.  This should help you both navigate through the process and enable you to have meaningful, constructive discussions.  Of course, the ultimate goal is for both parties to come out on the other side amicably, focusing on putting their children’s needs first.

    Some may feel that the notion of a ‘Good Divorce’ is unrealistic or naïve, but it can be achieved if both parties are on board with approaching it in a non-confrontational, constructive way.

    Top tips for achieving a ‘Good Divorce’:-

    1. Take your time

    Taking the decision to divorce is a big step. It is important to ensure that it is the right decision.  A ‘Good Divorce’ is more likely to be achieved if you are both ready.  You may want to explore relationship counselling to see whether there is anything you can do to make the relationship work.  Most relationships go through rocky patches and it might be worth making sure that you have given it your all.

    1. Communicate

    Where possible, try and talk things through with one another.  Be open and honest, talk about your feelings, concerns and viewpoint.  If you can have these types of discussions and listen to one another, you can try and maintain an amicable relationship, moving forward.

    1. Prioritise your children

    Conflict between parents can have long term effects on children, often having a detrimental impact on their wellbeing.  Try and focus on your children’s needs rather than any animosity you may have for one another.  Many children may not want their parents to separate and they may feel confused or uncertain about what the future holds.  It is important to communicate with them about their new living arrangements and to confirm that their relationship with both of you, will be preserved and protected, even if your marriage is ending.

    1. Respect one another

    Maintaining respect for one another is key.  If couples have children, they will still need to work together in the future as parents, despite the relationship breakdown. You will always still be a family and it is important not to lose sight of that.

    1. Minimise conflict between one another

    This may be easier said than done but it is important to keep conflict to a minimum. Your spouse should not be viewed as the enemy and you should try and avoid being critical of one another. One of the ways to achieve this,  is maybe to limit the amount of time that you spend together at the family home. The purpose of divorce is to formally separate and to sort out the family finances as swiftly as possible. If you keep that in mind, any discussions you do have directly should be calm and constructive.

    1. Make sure you have a support network

    Divorce comes with a ‘mourning period’.  Couples can be surprised by the sense of loss even if they wish to move on with their life.  Research shows that during divorce, couples will pass through a grieving process resembling that of grieving death. Talk to friends or family (but not your children) who can help you process your emotions and provide you with support.  If you feel you need additional support, consider counselling.

    1. Seek early legal advice

    It is important that you understand the divorce process and the financial clams that you and your spouse have against one another on divorce.  A specialist family lawyer can explain the process, what the options are and the likely timescales.  They can also ensure that all the issues have been covered.

    When seeking legal advice, make sure you find the right legal representative.  Divorce is a sensitive and personal matter.  You need to find someone who you get on with, listens to you and understands your views and objectives.  Trust is important as you will need to be open and honest with your legal representative.

    1. Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

    There are several different options when it comes to ADR and you need to consider which method suits you.  One option is mediation.  A mediator is a neutral third party who will assist you in talking through the options and try and facilitate an agreement between you.  Other options include arbitration, collaborative law, and negotiations through solicitors.  Court proceedings should be viewed as a last resort.  They can be time consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining.

    Between 30th November and 4th December, 2020, one of our family solicitors, Emerald Priscott will be offering 30 minutes free legal information sessions to those who need it, in support of the Resolution ‘Good Divorce’ Week. If you are interested in booking a free 30 minute session with Emerald, please call the team on 01603 598000 or email family@steeleslaw.co.uk.

    Alternatively, Steeles Law Family Solicitors offer an initial fixed fee meeting for £100.00 plus VAT for up to an hour. If you would like to discuss divorce, separation and/or family finances please call the team on 01603 598000 or email family@steeleslaw.co.uk to book your appointment.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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