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Beth Woodward

What is a good divorce?

29 November 2022

It's Good Divorce Week this week. use this week to raise awareness of the different ways families can resolve their disputes away from Court. Resolution members will support you to resolve matters as constructively and with as little conflict as possible.

To mark this week Beth Woodward, Head of Divorce and Family Law, considers:

What makes a good divorce? Can Lawyers help or hinder?

For some, divorce arrives as a long, slow revelation of incompatibility. For others, it is a gut-wrenching shock. All experiences are unique. All are painful. There is fear, betrayal, anger, depression, grief and guilt. How then can divorce ever be good?

To understand this we need to look to the future. Divorce ultimately gives a second chance at life and love. Of course, for those struggling to come to terms with a divorce, that promise of a new future seems a long way off. Anger and inertia are part of the grief cycle that a divorce brings, and they are necessary stages before recovery can begin. However, sooner or later the future needs to be addressed. How you approach your divorce will impact your future.

A good divorce is one that equips you for the future emotionally and financially, and one that protects children from the fallout.

A good divorce permits your children to love both their parents without guilt and without forcing too much responsibility onto young shoulders.

If we take this then as our goal, the way in which you divorce can make all the difference. Here are some top tips from a family law solicitor with over 25 years of experience:

  • Use non-inflammatory language when communicating with your ex. Avoid phrases that start with “You never…” and “You always…”.
  • Keep in the forefront of your mind your children’s needs and avoid exposing them to arguments or using them against your ex.
  • Consult a solicitor who is a member of Resolution. Members sign up to a Code of Conduct which commits to certain standards of behaviour to avoid confrontation and be child-focused.
  • Do not live with regret. Instruct a solicitor early on who can advise you on what would be a fair settlement. You do not want to later regret the financial settlement you entered into without proper advice or under pressure.
  • Before entering into financial negotiations, make sure you are confident you know everything you need to know about your ex’s finances and your own. This will ensure that you are not tricked into an unfair settlement and you can reach an agreement with confidence.
  • Part of a solicitor’s role is to help you work out your future needs: your future housing, income, and pension needs. When agreeing a financial settlement you should be certain it meets not only your immediate needs but also your long term requirements.
  • Do not be tempted to walk away from pension assets under pressure to keep your home if this will leave you with a problem in your old age.
  • Know where you stand legally. You will be faced with a lot of uncertainty. If you take legal advice early on, you can make educated choices about your options.
  • Take your time. If you are the one left playing “catch up” do not allow yourself into being pressured to make uninformed decisions. 
  • Take time to understand the different processes that can be used to reach agreement about finances or arrangements for the children. This could be via mediation, a round table meeting, through the collaborative process, or arbitration. Your lawyer can explain the options to you and help you work out what will work best in your case.
  • Be prepared to compromise. To listen as well as voice your opinion. If your ex does not feel that he/she is being listened to, they will not be receptive to your ideas.
  • If it is not too late, consider a nuptial agreement. These can be entered into before or after your marriage. Discussions about money can be difficult but if you discuss things whilst in a loving relationship, it will set the expectations of both of you and enable you to agree on a financial arrangement in the event of any future divorce. It can avoid a lot of arguments later on.

All this adds up to a good divorce, allowing you to focus on a future without bitterness and on being the best possible parent to your children whatever age they are.

If you are going through a divorce and would like further advice, then please contact our family law team. Book a fixed fee consultation with one of our family lawyers today. Call 0330 0945 500, email or complete our Contact Form and we'll get back to you.

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