Good Divorce Week

Good Divorce Week

26 November 2018 to 30 November marks Resolution’s Good Divorce Week. Resolution is an organisation committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes and we are proud that our family law practitioners are members.

As the Government consultation around the Government’s proposals to introduce no-fault divorce
gets underway and Good Divorce Week comes to an end, we are optimistic that the current law will
change to reduce the hostile impact of divorce on the parties involved, not least the children.
Indeed, the statistics assessing the impact of contentious divorce proceedings currently facilitated by
the law aptly illustrate that change is sorely needed. A YouGov pol commissioned by Resolution
found that 79% of the population agree that conflict from divorce or separation can affect negatively
children’s mental health, a figure rising to 87% among those whose own parents divorced during
childhood.

While we await the law reforms, there are a number of simple steps that you can take in order to
minimise the detrimental impact and stress of divorce. These can be easily remembered through the
acronym RESOLUTION:-

Reassure your children. It is incredibly important that you seek to limit the impact of any
relationship breakdown upon your children by placing their needs first. While a divorce may
ultimately be in the interests of the children, any conflict involved in the process itself can
undermine that. It is very important, therefore, that you minimise conflict and ensure that your
children are not involved in the process.

Engage lawyers. Do engage lawyers who are committed to constructive communication in order to
minimise conflict. While Court proceedings are sometimes necessary, they should always be the last
resort as not only are they costly, they can cause considerable stress. Preferably, you should seek
out lawyers who are members of Resolution who seek to communicate in such a way that is
professional and courteous.

Security. It is important that you take steps, as advised by legal advisors and experts, to protect
your interests to place yourself in a position of security. You should be aware that your spouse will
also seek to do the same. It is important that you focus on this as opposed to seeking that your
spouse is worse off as this will only serve to increase the acrimony and stall progress.

Options. Do ensure that you have considered all dispute resolution options available to you and
weighed up their advantages and disadvantages. For example, one option open to you is to
communicate with your spouse to see if you are able to reach an agreement. This ensures that a
constructive and open relationship is maintained which is often conducive to reaching agreement.
You may also consider mediation which is where a neutral third party seeks to facilitate agreement
between you and your spouse on issues in dispute. Alternatively, you may wish to pursue
negotiation through solicitors. This may be appropriate where one party is unresponsive or if direct
communication is not an option because of the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of the
relationship. The last option is Court Proceedings.

Leave your emotions at the door. We appreciate that you are going through a very difficult time,
but it is important to try and put your emotions to one side as far as possible to enable a constructive and civil approach to the divorce. If the other party is similarly minded, progress will be far more likely.

Understand the long term impact. While divorce can be very difficult, it is important to maintain
perspective by considering the long term impact of the proceedings, both in terms of reducing the
emotional impact upon you and your family and also in terms of reducing your legal costs.

Talk to one another. Communication between you and your spouse is key in establishing a
constructive relationship to reach agreement. The more that you are able to communicate and agree
matters directly with one another, the less involvement will be required from solicitors and the
Court.

Information. It is crucial that you seek advice from a legal professional at an early stage in order to
protect your position. Do take your solicitor’s advice on board as they seek to protect your best
interests.

Onwards and upwards. Once the divorce and finances are resolved and you have a binding order or
orders in place, you will be in a position where you can move on with your lives. You should take
consolation that going through the divorce process and reaching agreement or receiving a final
decision from the Court will ultimately provide you with emotional closure.

Negotiation. Most parties are able to reach agreement on the finances and on the children
arrangements without reaching Court or, if Court proceedings are necessary, the majority of parties
often negotiate agreement before final hearing. Do be prepared to negotiate and to reassess your
position. As the Court often remind us, it is important to remember that there is no winner or loser
in any divorce.

If you wish to speak with our solicitors on any Family Law matter or matters raised in this article,
please contact a member of the Family team on 020 8280 2713 who would be pleased to speak with
you.

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