22 June 2020
How to have an amicable divorce
There has been a steep rise in the number of couples wanting to divorce since lockdown was enforced. Even for happily married couples the intensity of spending a lot of time together can cause difficulties. But for couples, who were already struggling or who had grown apart and were living more independent lives, this period has been particularly challenging. Fran Hipperson, family partner at B P Collins, advises on how couples can have a more amicable separation.
It is important when dealing with any separation that both parties try to understand each other’s perspective and remember that whilst one partner may have reached a decision that the relationship is over, their spouse may not. The initial days and weeks of a separation can be extremely distressing especially if it came as a shock. Remembering that your partner may not have reached the same stage as you and may need time to process the separation, so that they can move forward constructively, will ultimately help resolve matters more amicably.
It is important to keep communicating with each other. Where a couple have children, they are likely to have to talk about the arrangements for the children for years to come and keeping discussions polite and constructive will make that easier. It is also vital that where arrangements need to be agreed with regards to children, that parents avoid using the Covid-19 situation to limit the time children spend with their other parent. Although courts appreciate many parents will have legitimate concerns in this regard, there will be consequences for parents who have perhaps exploited the pandemic in this way.
Seek legal advice. Understanding what a workable and fair outcome with regard to finances would be, and arrangements for any children, is vital and will enable a couple to have an open discussion and hopefully reach a resolution.
If you’re thinking about divorce since you’ve been in lockdown, taking advice early on will mean that you are aware of the court processes and the different stages involved and will give you guidance and advice about the appropriate outcome and the steps that need to be taken. This removes some of the uncertainty and provides parameters for settlement discussions. Some people prefer not to use a solicitor for the entire process, however it is vital that any agreement reached is recorded in a consent order, which is approved by the court as this provides certainty and finality.