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How to have a ‘good divorce’

Maya Griffiths

Maya Griffiths

This week marks Good Divorce Week and Dad Info is gathering tips and information from those in the know about how to have an amicable, less painful divorce experience.

In England & Wales, 42% of marriages end in divorce; that means there’s only a 1 in 2 chance that you’ll stick with the same partner for your whole life. A recent survey by Amicable also found that 30% of men in Britain believe that they’ll have more than one marriage in their lifetime. So, with that being the case, we really do need to get ‘better’ at breaking-up.

Here at some tips from Divorce Lawyer turned Divorce Coach Dan Martinez from Amicable on how to have a ‘good divorce’:

Don’t rush

Your split will take longer to finalise if you or your partner isn’t ready to proceed. Ready means emotionally ready to discuss how you will split your finances and arrange your childcare arrangements.

The change curve below shows the different stages someone usually goes through at the end of a relationship. Plot where you and your ex are on the chart. To have the best chance of remaining on good terms and reaching amicable agreements, you both need to be at the explore/commit stage.

Tip; if you or your ex are closer to the deny and resist stage, then consider allowing more time and looking into getting support from a professional like Relate who can help with the ‘moving on’ process.

Do your research

You need to understand some basic information on how the law works. If you both have an understanding and your expectations are realistic and fair for both of you, then you will have every chance of negotiating your own settlement without damaging and expensive legal proceedings. You can read our guide to filing for divorce here and getting a consent order (your financial settlement) here.

Don’t get caught in the “my lawyer says…” trap

There are many ways to divorce and when it comes to divorce, one size doesn’t fit all. Most people assume you need a lawyer to divorce. You absolutely do not. Whilst using a divorce lawyer (or in reality, two divorce lawyers, assuming you are both represented) is sometimes necessary, it’s not always the best route. As a parent you’ll want to choose a route that will support your transition from parents to co-parents. You can read all the different options for getting a divorce here.

Focus on the future, not the past

Concentrate on having conversations that focus on answering the question ‘what do we need to do to ensure our children are happy’ rather than ‘how do we split our belongings’. This helps you to focus you on what’s truly important. Don’t spend your time, energy or money arguing over the past.

A fair split of the matrimonial assets is obviously very important, however prioritising the children in the first instance will help focus how you both approach discussions. It is important to remember, that even though you are both divorcing, you will still have a family unit going forward (albeit in a different way), because of the children. How amicable and positive that new arrangement will be (for you both as well as the children) ultimately comes down to the approach of the separating parents.

Create a time frame and stick to it

Once you’re both ready (I’m referencing my first point here), create a time frame and stick to it the best you can. This will help you to keep the momentum, stay focused and most of all, get things finalised. The longer the arrangements take once they start, then the more scope there is for frustration and stress on both sides. You don’t want to rush, but you do want to the process to stay on track, working together as far as possible.

On average for a divorce only, it’s currently taking around 3 – 5 months to obtain your decree absolute . If you are sorting out financial and childcare arrangements too, then a more realistic time frame to complete all three processes (legally divorcing, formalising your financial split and sorting out childcare arrangements) is between six and twelve months. Use Amicable’s timeline tool for a more personalised estimate.

Having a ‘good divorce’ may feel unrealistic and is often an aspiration, especially at the beginning of a separation when emotions are running high. However, it is more than possible. Book a free 15-minute call here for help. Forum

If you fancy a chat with other Dads going on this journey, come and find us in the forum – set up a free anonymous account.

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