If you and your partner have made the difficult decision to divorce then it can be a highly emotive and traumatising experience. Often separating couples become embroiled in disputes regarding finances and children issues, which can then impact any relationship they have after the divorce proceedings have finished. However, a divorce doesn’t necessarily have to be this way and it can be an amicable process. The benefits are a better relationship with your ex-partner, and reaching an amicable agreement will save you money in solicitors’ fees.
How to have an amicable divorce:
1. Don’t apportion blame for the breakdown of the marriage
It is often easy for a person in a relationship to blame their partner for the breakdown of the marriage. This isn’t helped by the fact that to obtain a divorce you must prove that the marriage has irretrievably broken down due to one of five facts, those being:
- Unreasonable behaviour;
- Two-year desertion;
- Two-year separation with consent of the other party; or
- Five-year separation.
If the other party does not agree with the blame that has been placed on them then they can defend the divorce.
The truth is that neither party may be solely to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. It could have been caused by the couple drifting apart due to changing personal interests and/or advancing their own careers.
2. Concentrate on what is most important
When there is already a lot of tension between a couple, it can be easier for one or both parties to dispute all and every aspect of it – e.g. the assets from the marriage. This can delay the divorce even more and worsen the relationship.
It is recommended that each divorcing person thinks about what is most important to them (finances, the home, etc.) and then discuss them in a calm manner with their ex-partner. It’s best to do this as early as possible.
3. Be honest
When divorcing, the Court asks that both parties provide full and frank disclosure of all of their assets, but in some cases parties will try to hide them to stop them being involved in the proceedings. These assets can include overseas bank accounts and company shareholdings.
There is also the possibility that a person may attempt to dispose of any assets by transferring them into the name of another person (such as a family member or friend) or by reducing their equity ownership of a property and spending or transferring the earnings from it.
If the other party and the Court finds out, then the hidden assets are included in the financial settlement between the divorcing parties. The Court also has the power to penalise the party who has tried to hide their assets, such penalties include making the party pay for the other side’s legal costs or ruling more favourably on the side of the other party.
If the Court finds out at a later date that a person has not disclosed all of their assets, they can, in some cases, reopen the financial case.
4. Think about the children
It is painful to see a marriage end in divorce. The situation is intensified when children are involved in the equation. This is why keeping things friendly between parties is even more important.
By agreeing the aspects of the divorce in an amicable and calm manner, including who the children will live with, spend the weekend with, etc., this will mean that both separating parties will be able to work as good co-parents going forwards.
5. Settle things through mediation or collaborative law methods
Not all divorces have to go to Court and potentially become acrimonious, the process can be resolved via Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) proceedings, such as collaborative law and mediation. Both of these methods aim to resolve the key aspects of separation in a fair and constructive way, face to face. The aim of the processes is to find a resolution, which suits the needs of both parties and any children involved in the separation.
Collaborative law enables parties to discuss and agree how the financial matters and arrangements for children will be dealt with, moving forward at their own pace in face to face meetings in the presence of and with the support and guidance of specially accredited collaborative solicitors. If appropriate, any agreement reached, particularly in respect of financial matters can be made legally binding.
Mediation involves the parties engaging in meetings with a trained mediator, who is impartial and there to assist them in resolving their disputes. The mediator will not give legal advice or favour either party. Each party can have access to legal advice away from the mediation sessions. However, their solicitor would not attend the meetings themselves.
How can Nelsons help?
Catherine Rochelle is a Solicitor specialising in family law.
If you need advice on divorce or any other related matter, please contact Catherine or another solicitor in our expert Family Law team in Derby, Leicester or Nottingham who will be happy to discuss your circumstances in more detail and give you more information about the services that we can provide. Catherine can be contacted on 0800 024 1976 or via our online form.