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The alternative to a bad divorce

Sydney Mitchell LLP

Everyone has a story of a “bad divorce”.

It usually involves lots of legal costs, stress, court proceedings and hurt feelings.

Is it possible to have a good divorce asks Amanda Holland, Senior Associate, at Sydney Mitchell LLP

Here are some tips which may help:

• Choose a family lawyer who is a member of Resolution. We abide by a code of practice which says we will do everything we can to ensure that you and your former spouse remain on good terms whilst at the same time providing you with specialist family advice.

• Unfortunately we still need to say why the marriage has broken down to start divorce proceedings. Hopefully that will change with the campaign for a no fault divorce, but in the meantime if possible agree on the reasons why the marriage has broken down and avoid “fault”.

If you have been separated for 2 years and both agree, then you don’t need to set out lots of details of the other party’s bad behaviour or adultery – just say you have been separated for 2 years and you both agree. If that is not an option, don’t set out pages and pages of bad behaviour and don’t name the other party if adultery is the reason the marriage is at an end.

• Start with the commitment to reach agreement on money and child arrangements. Consider the collaborative process. This is all about you and your lawyers working together in one room to try to sort out arrangements for money and children.

• Put yourself in the shoes of your child. How would you feel if you couldn’t see your Mother or Father?

How would you feel if your Mother or Father made nasty comments about each other to you?

Amanda comments: "Divorce is hard. I am not convinced you can have a “good” divorce, but I do think you can have a 'better divorce' ".