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Is it possible to have a good divorce?

View profile for Shelley Cumbers
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Is it possible to have a good divorce?

This week marks “Good Divorce Week 2020” – an initiative run by Resolution. Resolution is the family law organisation whose members are committed to resolving divorce and family law issues in a constructive, non-confrontational way. 

All the divorce lawyers in the Birkett Long team are Resolution members. We observe first-hand the significant emotional and financial effect a divorce or separation can have on families involved in relationship breakdown. However, with the right support and in cases where the parties are committed to adopting a constructive approach, it is possible to achieve a good divorce.

Top tips for achieving a good divorce

1. Put the children first

When a relationship breaks down it is often a very worrying and emotional time for all concerned, especially when children are involved. For many, one of the biggest worries is likely to be about the children and supporting them through this difficult time.  

There will be lots to sort out, including where the children will live and how they will continue to have a relationship with both parents. 

Parents should put the welfare of their children at the forefront of their minds when faced with these types of issues. The focus should be on what is best for the children rather than what is best for the parents. Couples who achieve a good divorce recognise this which, in turn, helps the family in the long term as they ensure a child-centred approach.

2. Choose the right solicitor

It is best to obtain expert legal advice from a solicitor who specialises in family law as early on as possible. Even if the relationship breakdown is amicable, it is important you fully understand what is involved, what the law says and what options are available to you and your family when it comes to resolving the financial, children and other arrangements.

Not all family lawyers are Resolution members and, unfortunately, there are some who do not deal with these issues in a constructive and sensible way. This can potentially have serious repercussions for a family and inflame the situation, causing unnecessary cost both from a financial and emotional point of view. 

A good divorce can be achieved by appointing the right solicitor who adopts a constructive and non-confrontational approach. There are a number of options to consider and resolving the financial and children related issues through the court is not the only one. A good divorce solicitor will advise you on the legal process. They will guide you through the different options to help you take control of the situation. 

There are a number of ways that you and your ex can resolve your issues out-of-court. These include direct discussion, solicitor-led negotiation, mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration, all of which can make a significant difference in terms of achieving a good divorce. 

3.    Recognise the emotional as well as the legal effects of separation

According to a recent poll commissioned by Resolution, 41% of those divorced within the last 5 years have suffered multiple episodes of poor mental health including depression and anxiety. This compares to 29% among those who got divorced more than 5 years ago. The majority of divorcees surveyed felt that having early access to professional advice, where legal rights and options are made clear from the outset, would have improved their personal experience. 

The financial and emotional effects of divorce can be significant and achieving a good divorce is not easy. There are different psychological and emotional stages of divorce. It is important to recognise that people do not move neatly from one stage to the next. Nor do they deal with each stage at the same pace. If both parties recognise this and share a common commitment from the outset to resolve matters constructively, then this will go a long way towards helping to achieve that goal. 

Both parties should be aware of the emotional aspects of the breakdown of their relationship and the effect this is having on the other and the children. Where necessary, they should seek professional help from a mediator or counsellor, for example, to address the emotional aspects. This should, in turn, help to ensure the legal process runs smoothly.

I am a divorce solicitor based in our Colchester office. I am a Resolution member and collaboratively trained lawyer providing specialist legal advice and assistance across all aspects of private family law. I am committed to resolving disputes constructively and sensibly, always focusing on what is best for the family and offering practical solutions. 

I understand that divorce can be difficult and stressful. I offer specialist legal advice and guidance to help you through the process.  If you want to find out how I can help, contact me on 01206 217378 for a no-obligation free chat on the phone or email