How to have an amicable divorce
A very real trend in family law at the moment is an increasingly co-operative attitude to separation. This is driven partly by financial necessity, partly by the desire for a ‘good divorce’ and partly by the desire to make things as easy for the children as possible. Contrary to public perception the vast majority of family lawyers genuinely want to help their clients to resolve their disputes as amicably and as cost effectively as possible. The main bar to that is the tremendous emotional strain being faced by the clients, which leads some to behave irrationally and occasionally aggressively where otherwise they might not To assist clients undergoing such emotional strain modern divorce lawyers work to try to deal with the whole person rather than simply the situation they are in. These are some of the things they will do:
They will often refer their clients to counsellors and divorce help groups, so they can understand and normalise the feelings they are experiencing and realise they are not alone.
Divorce lawyers will also advise their clients to try to negotiate a settlement outside of the court process if at all possible, and to avoid almost inevitably damaging court proceedings unless they are absolutely necessary. At the forefront of this approach is collaborative law – which I have written about before – which involves instructing collaboratively trained lawyers who will take a non-confrontational approach, an agreement not to go to court and to have all negotiations around a table, and with the lawyers’ job being to help both of the couple, not just their client, come to an agreement that works for them.
There is also a significant government campaign to push mediation – a great idea- and a good vehicle for resolution of conflict where the parties use a mediator to broker and agreement between them.
What each of these two methods requires, of course, is the capacity for the parties to talk to each other. This requires civility on the part of the couple.
There is also a trend in the divorce world towards people representing themselves (‘litigants in person’) – a trend largely caused by the inability to afford legal fees, which can often be very high. If one or both clients are self representing it is vital that the parties act respectfully towards each other otherwise the case will fall into chaos – which too many sadly do.
What those self-representing need is low cost good quality legal advice to help them reach agreement, minimising the need to interact with each other but that will get them to a resolution of at least their financial minefield.
That is where, and partly why, Intelligent Divorce comes is. We have created a system where the clients can attempt to resolve their finances online. They don’t have to talk to each other if they don’t want to but can instead use the in-built messaging system. Once the couple have agreed what all their assets are, a barrister will provide an advice on outcome and the parties then use that advice to reach settlement.
Try your very hardest to keep communicating with each other, however hard it is. This is without doubt the simplest and most important point, and will make the most difference in the long run.