As the festive season becomes a memory and a new year chimes fade into the distance times can become very challenging for most families, but for those who have already separated or are contemplating separation or divorce the Christmas and new year period can act like pressure cooker on many relationships as tensions rise and finances fall.
New year always sees a peak in couples seeking advice on divorce with the first week of the new year often dubbed ‘Divorce Week’. Sara Perischine, Family Law expert at Astraea Linskills has given us her top five tips for couples to achieve an amicable divorce.
Steps to an amicable divorce
- Honesty is key – the most acrimonious cases of ours are those where one spouse is hiding something from the other, whether that be some capital savings squirrelled away or an undisclosed interest in a third party’s property. Lies will always come out in the end, so just tell the truth from the outset to limit hostility and, of course, costs.
- Explore alternative dispute resolution such as mediation. Mediation can form the basis for a resolution or pave the way for a more amicable divorce.
- Don’t bury your head in the sand – deal with matters promptly. Apart from keeping costs down, dealing with matters promptly can avoid an escalation of issues which if dealt with promptly can be dealt with amicably.
- Take legal advice – it will be the voice of reason, taking the emotional sting out of things and giving a rounded, or “devil’s advocate” point of view. A solicitor will advise you on what the Court will consider is fair and what the process can involve, all things that may seem daunting or wrong if you just listen to your friends.
- If there are children involved, take a pragmatic and amicable approach to telling them that Mum and Dad have separated and help them to understand what that means for them. A discussion around how child arrangements will work is helpful. Bare in mind that any child arrangements are addressed separately, but to divorce proceedings but one can have an emotional impact on the other.
Sometimes speaking to a lawyer early can lead to a resolution. It is when parties let things fester that they reach a point of no return. Either way an early consultation can make a difficult process a lot easier to deal with in the long run.