Having an amicable divorce may seem like a contradiction in terms. But it can be done and it’s better for everyone involved. This is Good Divorce Week (Resolution‘s annual campaign seeking to limit conflict in divorce), so here are our top tips for keeping it amicable and having a good divorce.
1. Choose your reason
You can evidence that your marriage has broken down irretrievably in 4 ways:-
- That you have been separated for one year and both parties consent to the divorce;
- That you have been separated for two years in which case, no consent is required;
- On the basis of unreasonable behaviour; or
- On the basis of adultery.
The process of divorce can be emotionally draining. To limit your exposure to stress the best approach is to make strategic instead of emotional decisions. This will help your sanity and your bank balance. You may have grounds for adultery, but if two years have passed between the period of separating and raising divorce proceedings, the cheapest and most efficient route would be to divorce on that basis and to leave any need for recognition of your spouse’s adulterous behaviour to another arena.
2. Be focused
Divorce proceedings should be outcome focused. The objectives are: to get divorced; to regulate any financial provision on divorce; and typically, to regulate the residence and contact of any children under 16. A divorce is not the forum to vent emotional frustrations or to be swayed by emotional needs; emotional satisfaction is desirable, but it is not a key objective.
3. Be good parents
How are your emotions not relevant when decisions are being made about your children? It doesn’t get any more emotional than this does it?
In Scotland, it is the welfare of the child that is the paramount consideration. Simply put, the parties’ emotional needs are not relevant when it comes to making decisions about children except in one limited circumstance (which is if there has been domestic abuse, but that is a blog for another day).
Divorce is an adversarial process, but in reality, it has to be a collaborative one when it comes to parenting and making decisions about children in the context of a divorce. It is about what works best for the children, not the adults. Achieving an amicable divorce will always be better for your children.
4. Less is more!
Always ask whether the action you are about to take serves your objectives. If it doesn’t help, don’t do it! This is particularly important in the context of communication. Don’t send angry texts, or post on Facebook! Try to think of divorce as a business negotiation. It is not going to help your cause if you create unnecessary resistance to sensible negotiations.
5. Get your finances in order
When it comes to orders about financial provision on divorce, any order must be reasonable having regard to the resources of the parties. This means that you will need to provide the court with evidence of your income and expenditure, and other general resources even when those resources may be excluded from the matrimonial pot! Start to collate this information as soon as possible in the process to avoid unnecessary last-minute stress. Take photos of receipts as you go, and save them on your phone in a budget folder. You will be glad that you did when you are asked to provide a schedule of your income and expenditure.
A family lawyer will help you stay focused and result orientated to help you achieve an amicable divorce with the best possible outcomes. This article is not intended to minimise the emotional impact of divorce but rather to help you through the process as painlessly as possible. And importantly with an eye on the best result that can be achieved for you.
The content of this page is for information only. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for specific advice. Gibson Kerr Ltd accepts no responsibility for the content of any third party website to which this webpage refers. Gibson Kerr Ltd is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.