Deciding to divorce or have your civil partnership dissolved is often one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Having taken the very first step in what can be a long and sometimes bumpy process, you may ask…what next?
Here, we look at the practical steps you can take to try and make the process as civilised as possible.
Put the kids first
Even if they do not agree with many other things, couples that have had children together will almost always want their children to have a happy and secure childhood.
Although avoiding conflict may be hard to do during divorce, remember that witnessing arguments can be very confusing and distressing for children. Keeping discussions behind closed doors can go some way to protecting children during divorce. If possible, create some ground rules at the very beginning of a separation, ideally agreeing not to speak negatively about each other in front of your children.
Look forwards, not back
There are many reasons that your relationship may have broken down. Whether down to one person’s actions, a failure to be able to overcome a hurdle together or simply as a result of growing apart, reaching the decision to divorce, although difficult to do, can sometimes allow you to draw a line in the sand. Having drawn this line, try to focus on the future and not the past. Harbouring feelings of resentment towards your ex-spouse is unlikely to be beneficial in the longer term.
Avoid taking to social media
Many of us have become accustomed to using social media in our everyday lives as a way of sharing what’s going on in our lives. However, taking to social media to vent about your ex-partner is something that should be avoided at all costs. The courts take any such online posts seriously and you may be held in contempt of court if you publish any details about court proceedings on social media. Remember that posts on social media can often be viewed publicly, which could result in something you have written being seen by one of your children or a close family member.
Be honest when it comes to financial disclosure
One of the biggest causes of friction between a divorcing couple occurs when one party tries to conceal or underplay financial assets. Attempting to dispose of any assets, thus reducing any interest your partner may have in them, is even more serious. Failing to be open and honest about your assets and their values can breach trust at the outset and undermine any future discussions. Ultimately, such conduct will only protract discussions around financial remedy, therefore increasing the fees associated with this element of divorce/dissolution.
Aim for open communication
There are many routes available to couples that are looking to divorce or have their civil partnership dissolved, with court actually being the last resort. Agreeing matters through negotiation and attending mediation allows you to reach decisions together, avoiding the situation where you end up point scoring against each other. Collaborative Law is an approach that allows both spouses to attend structured discussion meetings with their family solicitor. As well as being more cost-effective than the courts, this approach often allows for much more creative solutions to be reached that will actually fit in better with both your lives.
Anthony Jones is a Director, Head of Family and is a Resolution Accredited Specialist. Anthony has experience in representing business owners and the spouses of business owners, along with other high net worth individuals, in divorce cases.
For more information, please contact him on 0161 641 4555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org