Can you have a good divorce?

June 13, 2022

The words “good” and “divorce” may look strange sitting next to each other. When we think of the divorce process we rarely associate positive words with it. But does it have to be that way? In my view, no – not if you both want it to be different.

Fans of the BBC drama The Split will have seen this question examined and running as a theme throughout the show. There are bound to be bumps in the road as two people unravel their lives together but if you both want the same outcome and both approach the process in the same way it is possible to have a good divorce.

The key thing here is that both spouses want to approach matters in the same way and do so from the outset. Having a proper discussion about things and reaching an agreement is far better than fighting for fighting’s sake in a court room. All that does is heighten emotions, cause additional stress and incur legal costs. It is no secret that most people would prefer to spend their hard-earned money on themselves and their family rather than a lawyer!

Top tips for turning this myth into a reality

First, think about where you want to be at the end of the process. What do you want to achieve? That will help focus your mind and your energy on what is important to you.
Set the tone from the very first communication. If you want this process to be amicable, say so and always keep that in mind.

If you can, have an open discussion with your spouse about the finances – what assets do you have? What liabilities? How should those be dealt with? Take legal advice throughout. Choose if you want a lawyer to front negotiations or if you want to do that yourself. Speak to a lawyer at the beginning so that you understand the process and your various options. That information will be invaluable.

Find a lawyer whose approach suits you. I am a firm believer that you can be a divorce lawyer and still be nice. Being nice does not mean you are a pushover.
If you have children, always keep them at the centre of the process. They do not want their childhood to be tainted by memories of their parents’ divorce. They love each of their parents and ultimately want each parent to be happy. Be practical and be reasonable about the arrangements for the children – both financial and their day-to-day care.

Think of different ways to resolve any areas of disagreement. Mediation is popular and can be very effective.

People tend to feel better about an agreement they have reached themselves, rather than one imposed on them by a court. Own the situation from day one. In the same way as you planned your wedding, plan your divorce so that it happens the way you want it to. That way, you can have a good divorce – if you both want to.

If you would like some more information on how we can support with any family matters, including divorce, please get in touch with our team here.

This article was first published in Gallery magazine.

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