This year has seen some significant developments in the realm of Family Law, with the implementation of the long-awaited no-fault divorce and the very positive echoes of moving towards lawyers being able to advise a couple jointly. For more information on receiving joint advice, please click here.
With the end of the year closing in and 2023 looming, we hope that 2023 will see more positive developments for professionals hoping to help their clients to achieve an “amicable” divorce or separation.
However, what really is an “amicable” divorce or separation and how might you achieve it?
At the time of separation, it is easy to feel discouraged, frustrated, upset and defeated, especially if your spouse or partner doesn’t seem to want to engage in conversations about the future or perhaps it is you who does not know how to start to have these conversations. However, it is important to have these difficult conversations early because an important element of your future is your financial settlement and any arrangements for the children of the family.
If you are able to make every effort to reduce conflict to promote your own well-being and, importantly, the interests of your children, then that truly is the foundation of an amicable divorce.
Leading the way for achieving an amicable divorce can have significant rewards to you and your relationship with your children. It is easy to forget, when in the height of it all, that the children will pick up on their parents’ emotions, as well as their parents’ feelings towards each other. Therefore, how you deal with the divorce or separation, how you handle your emotions and – perhaps the most important lesson of all – how you relate to one another and demonstrate that you can work together in hard times, will be the key to your children’s resilience and how they cope with the situation.
So, with 2023 upon us, now more than ever, why not make it this new year’s resolution to tackle your divorce or separation in the most amicable way, by considering some of the following tips:
- Find ways to communicate which reduce conflict. Perhaps you find face-to-face discussions difficult so may want to explore other ways. Install family apps (such as AppClose or OurFamilyWizard) to discuss the arrangements for the children to spend time with the other parent. If mediation has been something you have thought about but do not want to put yourself in a position where you have to be in the same room as your spouse or partner, consider shuttle mediation where you will each be given separate rooms and the mediator will flit between you.
- Keep in mind that a financial settlement should be something you can live with. Each of you will have to compromise somewhere if you want to avoid making an application to the court. Acceptance of that is key to an early settlement. Once your settlement has been reached, you must be able to let go of any feelings you might have had towards your spouse for any compromise that you made during the negotiations.
- Seek support from professionals. Getting good advice early on will help to put everything into perspective. Alongside any legal advice, you may want to consider counselling and/or divorce coaching, as well as advice from a financial planner. Emotions can cloud your judgement but they can also severely impact your children. Your health and wellbeing and that of your children must be one of your priorities.
- Consider ways to co-parent which are child-focused. What will or won’t work and what will or won’t be an option will vary from family to family. If there are enough assets it might be that “nesting” is an option for you. “Nesting” is where one parent vacates the home whilst the other parent moves in and this alternates for every contact week/weekend, but the child(ren) stay put. The benefit is that the children stay in one house without the disruption of having to move from one parent’s house each week/end to the other. However, for this to work there has to be enough assets to ensure suitable alternative accommodation for each parent, which is often not the case. In the absence of this option, try always to find common ground with the other parent where there is an issue over the arrangements by seeing the situation from the other parent’s perspective. Accept that there might be a way that you could do something differently.
If you have found any of the information in this article helpful and you would like an initial discussion with someone from our friendly family team, please do not hesitate to get in touch by calling 01622 698000.