Once again, it is Good Divorce Week.
“Good” is perhaps not a word that most people would choose to describe divorce, and so it might seem like a strange concept.
Can getting divorced ever be good?
We asked Katie Kilburn, Senior Solicitor, and qualified collaborative lawyer who works across the Yorkshire region to share her thoughts on Good Divorce Week and tips on how to divorce with dignity.
Good Divorce Week is an annual campaign by Resolution which focuses on the fundamental policy of limiting conflict in divorce.
Many family lawyers are Resolution members, who pride themselves in committing to doing just that.
Whilst lawyers cannot stop the distress or anger that often comes with a separation; there are ways to approach a divorce that can make it a less painful experience.
All Resolution members have to act in accordance with the Code of Practice which promises to,
Reduce or manage any conflict and confrontation; for example, by not using inflammatory language.
Support and encourage families to put the best interests of any children first.
Act with honesty, integrity and objectivity.
Help clients understand and manage the potential long-term financial and emotional consequences of decisions.
Listen to and treat everyone with respect and without judgment.
Use their experience and knowledge to guide clients through the options available to them.
Continually develop knowledge and skills.
These are all key elements to help solicitors make divorce a better process for everyone involved.
We use these promises and strategies to reduce confrontation. There are also things that you can do to help make your divorce better.
A collaborative divorce
As a qualified collaborative lawyer (as well as being a Resolution Accredited Specialist in Complex Financial Remedies and Private Children), I work with my clients to support them to have a collaborative divorce.
This approach involves both parties having their separate lawyers that work together to achieve a settlement that suits the whole family, avoiding going to court.
The process enables a couple to discuss, in a safe environment, their hopes and concerns. It allows them to retain control over the decision-making process, rather than a judge, who may only meet them for the first time at a final hearing, deciding the settlement.
Sharing my learning from working in this way with clients, here are my top five tips for a “good” divorce:
Take legal advice early
Appoint a divorce lawyer who is a Resolution member as they will be committed to resolving your separation constructively.
Having the appropriate information early on means you are better placed to make important decisions about how to proceed.
Try to remove the emotional from the legal
The emotional impact of separation is unavoidable. Nobody is taking away from the pain you may feel, and those feelings are perfectly valid.
However, they are not a part of the legal process.
The legal process is not designed to punish the party in the wrong.
Focus on dealing with the legal part with dignity, rather than reacting to hurt.
Always put the children first
You have to continue to be parents together long after the divorce is over. You need to ensure you have a working relationship.
Your children have not asked to be in this position. Most children will adapt to change with resilience, as long as you don’t expose them to unnecessary disputes, which can have a long-lasting impact on them.
Be open and honest about finances
Being dishonest will only add to the conflict and will prolong the divorce.
People who try to hide assets usually do not get away with it and end up making things worse for themselves when they get caught.
Be reasonable and prepared to compromise.
Unless you have millions of pounds, and even then, divorce will usually require some element of compromise.
Whether it is about time you have with the children or whether you have to choose between keeping the family home or not, very few people can walk away from a divorce with absolutely everything they would like. If you are realistic about this from the start, the process can be much easier.
It should never be about getting as much as possible for yourself to the detriment of your spouse but trying to find a solution that meets everyone’s needs, after all, that is the approach the court would take if you cannot agree.
Get in touch
If you would like any advice on Good Divorce Week, how collaborative divorce works and how to divorce with dignity, you can contact Katie via our Client Care Team here.