May 13, 2015

Seven successful steps to a ‘good’ divorce

The fairy tale romance that ends in the perfect wedding conjures up a picture that most of us can relate to.

We can probably all list the components of what constitutes a ‘good’ wedding and a ‘good’ marriage.  However, what does a ‘good’ divorce look like – and how critical is it that we can turn a perceived negative into something positive?

Divorce is so often seen as a personal failure – the shattering of that fairy tale happy ending.  And whilst divorce is undoubtedly stressful, for many couples it may well be a better option that staying in an unhealthy and damaged marriage.

A romanticised ‘roses around the door’ long and happy marriage is far from the norm.  With around 42% of marriages ending in divorce, almost one in two couples can expect to divorce.  Aiming for a ‘good’ divorce is a way of ensuring that men and women can pick up the pieces, dust themselves down and build a new and happy future. Here are seven steps that can help pave the way for a good divorce:

  1. Whatever the reasons for a separation, try to stay civil and avoid confrontation. Fighting over who keeps the dog, dumping clothes in the front garden, or leaving hurtful comments on your ex’s Facebook page might give you a short term lift, but are not helpful in the long run.
  1. Seek advice early on in a separation – knowledge can be empowering. Knowing where you stand financially and legally can help you to steer a smooth course through the divorce process.
  1. Be an adult around your children. Separation and divorce come as a shock to children, whatever their age, and they need both parents to be grown up. Put your children at the heart of your marriage break up and avoid blaming your ex, or having a slanging match in front of your children.  Children need to feel loved by both parents as they struggle to come to terms with the breakdown of family life as they know it.
  1. Choose a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution. The organisation’s 6,500 members include lawyers and other professionals who are committed to a constructive and non-confrontational approach to dealing with divorce and family matters. Even if issues are particularly complex and need a judge or an arbitrator to make a decision, a lawyer who follows Resolution’s code of practice will avoid an unnecessarily aggressive approach.
  1. If you, your children or your ex aren’t coping then do seek external help and support.  At Jones Myers we take a holistic approach to separation and divorce, referring clients to appropriate professionals such as counsellors or therapists who are experienced in helping families and individuals deal with the fallout of a broken relationship.
  1. Friends and relatives can be great support during a divorce, however their loyalty can be a double-edged sword as they can unwittingly fan the flames of anger or even retribution. Leave legal and financial advice to the professionals and urge your friends to do the same.
  1. Embrace your new life and accept that it will be different. Clinging onto the wreckage of a broken marriage can leave people feeling embittered and depressed. Those who come out of divorce with some optimism, who take the best parts from their marriage, will tend to have a more flexible and pragmatic view of what the future will look like.

Do you have any tips on what constitutes a ‘good’ divorce, or do you have any questions about separation or divorce? Please call us on 0113 246 0055, leave us a comment below or drop us an e-mail.  You can follow us on Twitter @helpwithdivorce