Divorce can be an extremely painful and stressful time for a family, but there are steps you can take to help avoid additional strain. We have prepared this helpful guide to give you some tips on how to make separation and divorce easier for all involved.
Avoid court if possible
A courtroom can be quite a stressful environment, and most family lawyers will recommend avoiding it as much as possible to facilitate a constructive divorce process.
The key to avoiding it is communicating with your former partner and reaching agreement on as many matters as you can outside the courtroom.
A separation agreement can help you settle all of the key aspects of separation instead of divorcing, or before you get around to making a divorce official. This may be by an informal agreement between both parties or a legally binding contract that has been drafted by a solicitor.
A separation agreement typically settles the most important aspects of a separation, such as whether the house the couple shared will be sold, what the living arrangements will be for any children of the couple and how debts and savings will be split. If one party is to continue living in the family home, a separation agreement may set out who will be responsible for paying the mortgage and household bills.
This allows the most important matters to be settled without needing to wait for a divorce to be finalised.
A separation agreement can also make divorce easier as the most contentious aspects of separation will already be agreed and the divorce can proceed unchallenged. This can make the divorce quicker thereby avoiding additional legal fees.
Recent research by Resolution, an organisation dedicated to promoting constructive resolution of family law disputes, highlights some of the things that separating parents should be aware of to make divorce easier on their children.
They surveyed young people who had been through a divorce and found that 80% of children would prefer that their parents separated rather than stay together and be unhappy.
One-third of those questioned said they wished their parents would not say horrible things about each other and almost half stated that they did not understand what was happening during the divorce process.
This suggests that it is the way parents go about the divorce, rather than the divorce itself, that can be harmful to children. Explaining what is happening and being aware of the impact of what you are saying about the other parent can help prevent unnecessary stress for children throughout the separation.
Separations will always be extremely difficult for a family, but following these principles could help pave the way for a more constructive and positive experience.
DISCLAIMER: This article should not be regarded as constituting legal advice in relation to particular circumstances. This article is merely a general comment on the relevant topic.
Published on 5th May 2016
(Last updated 23rd March 2018)