It is a common misconception that instructing a family lawyer when you are facing divorce will increase animosity between you and your spouse. In fact, the introduction of lawyers into the process can prove a calming influence – not only can they guide you through the process, but they also know how to keep it amicable and seek agreement, rather than confrontation. All this can ultimately save both parties money, time and stress.
Sadly, divorce law in this country doesn’t allow for a separated couple to divorce immediately without finding fault, though that will change when the new no-fault divorce process comes into effect; the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill has now passed through parliament. This very welcome change will update laws that were drafted almost 50 years ago. The finding of fault is always hard to deal with; the lawyer’s experienced and objective input can be very helpful.
Here are three top tips for an amicable divorce and associated financial settlement:
Transparency and openness are absolutely key. Too many going through a divorce and/or separation try to hide matters from the court and the legal representatives involved. That achieves very little, other than increasing animosity, delay and legal costs. It may also risk unwanted conclusions being drawn, referred to as ‘adverse inferences.’ Inevitably the truth, and the law, will always prevail to ensure a fair and equitable outcome. If you are honest and transparent from the start, it will make matters far more straightforward for everyone involved at a difficult and emotionally testing time.
Be prepared to compromise
To reach a swift solution (without moving to a contested final hearing, which can take a long time) both parties need to compromise. Through discussion, and taking advantage of your lawyer’s experience, you will be able to focus on what is most important and what is genuinely less important to you; areas where you can compromise, especially when it comes to a financial settlement.
Keep communications calm and brief
Try to reduce frequent and emotive communications with your ex-spouse. When you separate, emotions are running high. Take some time before sending a text, email or even making a call to your ex-spouse and think about the tone of your communications.
No two divorces are the same, but it is vital to make sure, along with the decree absolute, that you also focus on a final financial settlement. If you avoid doing that, and simply come to a private arrangement, it can simply store up problems for the future. It is better to resolve issues fully, so that you can move on with your life.