Statistics show that 42% of UK marriages end in divorce. Whilst more difficult to regulate, cohabiting couples suffer the same with relationships breaking down permanently.
Television and the media can dramatize these difficult and sensitive family scenarios, often emphasising bitterness, anger and animosity. If we believe the soaps and the newspapers, divorce is painful and expensive.
If, sadly, 2023 brings with it an end to your marriage or relationship, make a New Year promise to yourself to adopt a less acrimonious approach. Focus on yourself and the needs of your children.
There is a better way.
1. Empower yourself. Concluding that your relationship has ended is a difficult and often lengthy process. Be clear in your mind before speaking with your partner. When you do so, communicate your decision calmly and with confidence. Hopefully, that will set the tone for a more amicable divorce, an outcome actively promoted by the ‘no fault’ legislation introduced in April 2022.
2. Look after yourself in the process. Relationship breakdown is difficult, and it is therefore important that you know where to turn for support, whether legal, financial or therapeutic.
3. Focus on communications. The expression ‘lost in translation’ can be applied so readily to divorcing couples. Concentrate on how you communicate with your former partner. What you say is as important as how you say it.
4. Know that the ‘see you in Court’ approach should be a last resort. There are many other options available to you to resolve your finances including, for example, mediation and arbitration. Court is expensive, financially and emotionally, so look to alternative dispute resolution as a better way.
If there are children, as a separated parent, you should commit to:
5. Agreeing a dialogue. In an age-appropriate manner, children will need to be told that their parents are separating. Forward planning will enable you both to agree the ‘what’, ‘when’ and ‘why’.
6. Remembering that the quality of time you spend with your children is far more important than the quantity. It is not helpful for children of divorce to find themselves the subject of a numbers game.
7. Valuing the importance to your children of a meaningful, close and loving relationship with both parents. Whilst your marriage has come to an end, the children will forever see you as ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’. Those relationships must endure.
8. Parking your differences with your ex. Subjecting your children to acrimony and bitterness is not in their best interests.
For a free preliminary conversation, please get in touch with Kate Stovold at kstovold@LMPlaw.co.uk or give her a call on 07917 015631.