01 April, 2022
When a couple enters into marriage, they are full of hope for the future.
On occasions, marriages run out of life, but in most circumstances, the divorce is a shock and an upsetting process for one spouse or the other. Something that was intended to be forever is suddenly brought to an end and it's very easy for emotions to take over. It is often impossible for spouses to see things objectively and family and friends often take the side of each respective spouse. This leads to significant tension and often a lengthy and expensive divorce procedure. Where possible, there are certain things that you can do to perhaps help ease the process.
There are only a lucky few that describe divorce as simple and easy, but all can help themselves through this process.
Try not to blame. If the marriage has broken down irretrievably, there is no point in overthinking blame. The new divorce rules that come into effect on 6 April 2022 are to assist parties to follow this approach. For years, a spouse has had to blame the other spouse for unreasonable behaviour or, commonly, adultery. However, being able to proceed with a divorce citing "no fault" will hopefully set up the divorce process to be far more collaborative, rather than contentious.
Keep talking. Legal fees mount up very quickly, but there are alternatives. If you don't feel able to talk between yourselves, see if you have friends or family that are willing to assist. They must be able to take an objective approach and guide you. If that is not possible, then there are mediation services that provide a neutral facility outside of court and this allows you to keep control of your discussions and allows you to keep talking.
They can guide your conversations and they can assist in navigating some of the more complicated points.
What do you have? It's really important to know what assets and debts you have. This may seem simple but quite often one spouse takes charge of one aspect of the marriage and the other takes charge of another. Simple things such as outgoings like gas, electricity and water are unknown to one spouse. For this reason, it is important to sit down and consider what you have.
What assets do you have, what debts do you have, do you have any pensions? It's also important to consider what your income and outgoings are. This will help you make decisions for the future.
There may need to be difficult decisions of downsizing and if that is the case, you can have constructive conversations when you are fully prepared with all the facts and figures. The process could be quite enlightening and open up doors that you hadn't considered.
What's important to you? This may seem like an obvious question and it may seem like the answer is clear.
However, it's important to take an objective approach and think hard as to what is important to you. If you know your parameters, it's far easier to negotiate. For example, it may be easy to hold on emotionally to the matrimonial home.
However, that links in with emotions and memories. New memories can be made. Do consider is it an emotional decision to want to keep the home or is it a practical decision? Always consider the practical perspective first.
Look after you and your family. When going through a divorce you must look after yourself. Make sure you have a good support network and also make sure that you feel strong enough to look after any children of the family. If you don't feel strong the children will pick up on this and they are also grieving the end of your marriage. With bitter divorces, it's easy for children to get in the middle. If the divorce can be approached more constructively and positively, the children will feel more secure and it may help ease some of the pain for you.
Be advised. It's very easy to consider doing things yourself. The courts have got an online portal and you may consider it the easy option to do that. Please do remember that at the very least a one-off consultation with a solicitor may well be helpful and provide you with options that you hadn't considered. It is always best to be equipped with information to help you make difficult decisions.
Solicitors don't have to be expensive. If they are utilised for their skills and not to fight every battle, it can be a very helpful tool to have.
For more information contact Rubina Vohra in our Family/Divorce department via email or phone on 01254 580 000. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.
Learn more about our Family/Divorce department here