30th November 2020
This week is Resolution’s ‘Good Divorce Week’, which runs from Monday 30 November to Friday 4 December 2020. Good Divorce Week is an annual campaign, organised by Resolution, that aims to promote practical and constructive ways for couples to separate.
This year the theme and focus of Good Divorce Week is around the benefits of early legal advice.
For separating couples or those contemplating separation, the term ‘good divorce’ may seem absurd or somewhat of an oxymoron. However, our specialist divorce lawyers have experience working with plenty of couples who have managed to part ways amicably, resulting in positive outcomes for both sides.
Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin made the term ‘conscious uncoupling’ shoot to fame in 2014 when it was used to describe how the famous couple were handling their separation. But the term was first dreamt up by New York Times Bestselling Author, licensed marriage and family therapist, Katherine Woodward Thomas who coaches people to have a better break-up. Since then the term has been used by others separating in the public eye and also non-celebrity couples who have embraced the idea of agreeably parting.
There are many married couples or those in civil partnerships who realise that their relationship has come to an end and jointly acknowledge the blame or have come to an understanding with one another. This is where an amicable divorce is most likely. However, some couples who believe that they are parting ways harmoniously can find themselves in disagreement further along in the process. Equally, some couples who are at loggerheads, can make breakthroughs with the right support and come out the other side on amicable terms.
Whilst the expression ‘conscious uncoupling’ may not be for everyone, there are some aspects from the concept that can be put into practice for many couples who are separating in order to reduce the animosity that divorce can create.
The Collaborative Approach to divorce is well-regarded by divorce solicitors as it can achieve fantastic results and avoid the need to attend court, which is welcomed by most clients. This method involves each party instructing their own solicitor and sitting around a boardroom table (or over video conference) to hash-out the details of the divorce until agreement is reached. You still benefit from the one-to-one, independent advice from your solicitor in separate meetings, but the process can be made much quicker and less confrontational when dealt with proactively.
The main reason why separating couples wish to part ways amicably is to protect their children. They do not want their children exposed to the stress, upset or hostility that a contested divorce can foster. If young children are involved, there is a good chance that both the parents will need to maintain a co-parenting role in each other’s lives for many years to come and this is made much easier if both parties can be agreeable.
Others wish to reduce the stress of separating for their own mental wellbeing. Divorce is one of the most stressful things that people can go through in their lifetime, so minimising the pressure is a sensible thing to do in order to navigate the process with a clear head. Sometimes married couples run a family business, work together, are in the same professional network or have joint friendship groups that they wish to maintain. An amicable divorce that settles on good terms can be key to continuing to work and socialise together.
Our divorce solicitors at Lamb Brooks share 5 steps that can help pave the way to a civilised separation…
To achieve a positive result and steer your way through divorce without added acrimony it is vital that both parties have the same aims and outcome in mind. If you are both working together towards the same overarching goal, then you are far more likely to come away satisfied and also with fewer hurdles and reduced conflict.
It is key for both sides to keep an open mind when it comes to separating, particularly when discussions turn to finances and children. Unless you both have exactly the same wishes, then you are likely to need to compromise, negotiate and discuss in order to find a way forward. It is also important not to rush decisions and to take time out if you need to think through the particulars of your divorce before agreeing.
Couples that fair best when separating are those who manage to maintain communication throughout. When communication breaks down, this is often where problems arise and costs can increase as solicitors are called upon to liaise with each other, sometimes over trivial matters.
Even a civil separation can be tricky to go through and it is important to have emotional support from friends, family, colleagues, or professionals. Do not suffer in silence and keep talking, even if you feel that you are coping, it can be a relief to have people around you that understand what you are going through and can offer support.
In order to achieve a good divorce – or a less hostile one at least, it is advised to instruct a solicitor that understands your objectives and is experienced to help guide you through the process in a way that will relieve your concerns. Law firms who have a specialist family department will be best placed to support your needs and a firm that is a member of Resolution will be following the code of practice for a constructive separation.
There will be some circumstances where having a ‘good’ separation is just not feasible. This could be down to the reasons behind the breakdown of the marriage or it could be because one or both parties are not behaving reasonably during the divorce process.
In these instances, your solicitor would be able to suggest the best approach to take in order to find a way forward. This may involve attending court to obtain a divorce rather than the alternative methods.
Whatever stage you are at, the advice and clarification from an experienced family lawyer can prove invaluable. Whether you are considering ending your marriage, have been separated for some time, are divorced and looking for financial closure or starting a new relationship and seeking some protection.
Please get in touch with our friendly and diligent Family Law Team by calling 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant at any time of day – including evenings and weekends.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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