Getting divorced is never a pleasant experience, but it can be made considerably easier (and cheaper) if it is conducted in an amicable fashion, rather than being a battle between the parties. So, how can a couple achieve an amicable divorce?
Reasons for Divorce
You will need to prove to the court that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. Unfortunately, if you have not yet been separated for two years then this will involve alleging that the breakdown was the fault of your spouse, either as a result of their adultery or their unreasonable behaviour. However, you can reduce the likelihood of conflict by not naming any other party, and by keeping behaviour allegations to the minimum required to get the divorce through. If you have been separated for two years, then the divorce can proceed on that basis, with your spouse’s consent.
Arrangements for Children
The most important consideration in any divorce is, of course, the children. Arrangements will need to be sorted out as to how much time they will spend with each parent. If possible, these arrangements should be sorted out between the parents by agreement, always keeping in mind the fact that the welfare of the children is more important than ‘scoring points’ against the other parent.
Finances and Property
You will need to sort out what is to happen to the matrimonial home, pensions and any other property. Again, you should try to do this by agreement, but these things can be quite complicated, so some advice may be required. Note that you will have to make full disclosure of your means to your spouse, as without this no settlement can be reached. You will also need to sort out child maintenance, and this site can help you do that by agreement.
Choosing a Solicitor
At some point, you will almost certainly need to consult a solicitor, even if it is just to implement an agreement reached with the other party (financial agreements have to be incorporated into a consent court order, which should be drafted by a lawyer). If you do, then you should choose one that deals with matters in a constructive, non-confrontational way, rather than one that is likely to be aggressive and make matters worse, rather than better. If you’re in need of impartial legal advice, Law on the Web is a good starting point.
Finally, if you cannot agree matters direct with your spouse, then you should consider mediation, whereby a trained mediator will help you to reach an agreement. You can find a local mediation service here.
A bitterly-fought divorce can be a disaster for all concerned, especially any children. By taking the above steps you should be able to make the divorce as amicable as possible.