30 November 2020

Good Divorce Week 2020. Day 1: Is there such a thing as a 'good' divorce?

Good Divorce Week, which begins on Monday 30 November, is an annual campaign that aims to promote practical and constructive ways for separating parents to put the needs of their children first.

Every year, Resolution, an organisation of family justice professionals, campaigns on a core issue to its membership. This year Resolution is asking members to commit to giving 30 minutes of free legal or professional advice to those who need it during the week. 

This is not something new for us at Carey Olsen - we are always happy to have a free 30 minute initial meeting or call with you to see if we can assist you with matters arising from your relationship breakdown. However, to celebrate the week, we are also going to release a daily LinkedIn post answering some of the common questions we come across.

Day 1: Is there such a thing as a ‘good’ divorce?

Divorce is an undoubtedly emotional and stressful time for everyone who, unfortunately, experiences it. This is, of course, entirely understandable, as the breakdown of a relationship often brings with it feelings of sadness, anger, and despair. 

From a practical perspective, the breakdown of a relationship also brings with it changes to your long-standing routine and by far the most significant issue for our clients is their anxiety about what the future holds. There are often many questions to be answered:

  • how will I manage financially?
  • will I be able to stay in my home?
  • how do we tell our children?
  • who will the children live with?

Even in cases where both parties remain on relatively good terms, these worries typically still arise. Experienced family lawyers, whilst obviously offering a sympathetic ear, will work with you to help you resolve the specific issues arising in your case. It is important to bear in mind that a good family lawyer will not only have your best interests in mind, they will try to find a way to resolve problems in the best interests of your family. 

It is important to remember that you may not always like the advice your lawyer gives you, but bear in mind that it is your lawyer’s job to look at matters from an objective perspective, stepping away from the emotional aspects of relationship breakdown which often create complications during divorce proceedings, and advise you accordingly. 

Our top tips:

  • Take early legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. Even if you do not want to proceed with a divorce immediately, it will help you to find out what your options are.
  • Don’t underestimate the emotional toll the breakdown of a relationship can take on your wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Consider whether you might benefit from some additional support. Speak to your GP and/or seek the assistance of a therapist or counsellor if you need someone to talk to.
  • Be careful about the ‘advice’ provided to you by family members and friends. They will undoubtedly have your best interests at heart, but the issues to be resolved are different in every single case; no two cases are exactly the same.
  • Think about what the real sticking points are in your case and whether you and your spouse can work them out between you, perhaps with the support of a third party, such as a mutual friend, acting as an intermediary, or with the assistance of a trained mediator. This will not always be possible in every case, but many people find that they do not really need the assistance of a lawyer and that they are able to work out the arrangements for their children and financial matters by agreement. The more you can agree between you, the less your divorce will cost you from both an emotional and financial perspective.

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