Monday 30 November 2020 sees the start of ‘Good Divorce Week’, an annual campaign run by Resolution, a community of family justice professionals who work with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.
To mark this initiative, and help raise awareness of the importance of best practice in this area of law, the family team at South East law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore has put together some key tips to help make divorce and associated matters smoother and more straightforward.
- Communication - the more you can communicate directly, the more likely you are to be able to remain amicable and resolve matters without spending lots of money on legal fees
- Take legal advice early on - it isn’t an aggressive step, it just allows you to make informed decisions. You may then feel that mediation or the collaborative process could be an option, which allows you to talk directly and try and resolve matters in a way that suits both of you.
- Consider counselling, or family therapy - not to reconcile but to work through some of the non-legal issues, it goes back to communication but it also makes the legal issues easier to resolve, and helps to allow you to move forward as a family unit, albeit a different type of unit.
- Try not to involve lots of third parties - family members and friends will all have an opinion, but those opinions aren’t always helpful. Every case is fact specific and so the outcome could be very different to yours. Choose a couple of people you trust to be objective and confide in them.
- Explore different options - letters being sent by solicitors might not suit, a court application should always be the last resort. Try to remember that going forward, in situations where you have children, there will be many events that you will both want to attend and it will be better for the children and both of you if you can maintain a relationship of sorts. Does mediation, collaboration or arbitration feel like a better fit for your family?
- Try not to react in anger - the divorce process is emotive and difficult, but anger can make it a much longer process, and a much more costly process both emotionally and financially. There’s a time for anger and upset but it’s best avoided when making legal decisions.
Helen Waite, part of the family team at Thomson Snell & Passmore comments: “The breakdown of a marriage is a difficult experience for all involved. We always try to minimise the pain and stress caused by family breakdowns and focus on finding the best outcome for all involved.
“It is really important not to lose sight of the long-term interests of both the adults and children involved and to try and keep channels of communication open at all times. After all, no one sets out to spend a fortune on legal fees. Most people would rather have money to spend on their children and the future than paying for a legal fight.”
This article first appeared in ePrivate Client https://www.paminsight.com/epc/article/good-divorce-week-top-tips-from-a-family-lawyer-for-a-smoother-separation