Can a divorce ever be described as good? The common consensus within society is almost certainly that the process of separating and divorce is a harrowing experience. However, divorce does not need to be a bad or ugly experience for separating couples. Think of Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow and their “conscious uncoupling.” There are many ways to avoid relations turning sour during the separation and divorce process. Here are a few top tips to try and keep relations amicable during the separation and divorce process:
- Remember in Scotland the law is not interested in the “guilty” party in divorce, nor who has had an affair, or left the home when it comes to considering what may constitute a fair and reasonable financial settlement. Issues concerning children, property and finances are dealt with almost completely separately from the conduct of the parties. Whilst it understandably can be difficult to leave emotions out of the equation, if you are able to park the blame element of the separation it will save both of you a lot of time, money, stress and heartache. Without emotions clouding the issues, you will be able to make more practical and informed decisions.
- If you are the party initiating the separation then it is important to be mindful of the fact that it may take your spouse some time to come to terms with your decision. Allowing a period of calm immediately after the separation may result in both parties being ready to discuss the issues arising out the separation more amicably. The phrase “more haste less speed” should be borne in mind.
- Engage legal advice at an early stage to ensure you are focussing on the relevant issues. Remember there are a variety of approaches out there to resolve the issues arising out your separation as amicably as possible. Careful consideration should be given to the following two options:
CALM Scotland (Comprehensive Accredited Lawyer Mediators) www.calmscotland.co.uk. This process involves instructing an accredited confidential mediator who is also a specialist in family law to assist you and your partner with face to face discussions regarding your separation. It is aimed at facilitating open, honest and amicable discussions regarding your separation. Our family law partner, Fiona Rasmusen, is a trained CALM mediator.
Consensus Collaboration Scotland www.consensus-scotland.com. Consensus Collaboration Scotland is an organisation of Scottish lawyers, family consultants and financial specialists. The collaborative process offers separating couples a non-confrontational way of agreeing the legal and practical arrangements for their separation and divorce. In order to engage the collaborative process both parties require to instruct a solicitor trained in collaborative law. The collaborative process involves all discussions/negotiations taking place during joint meetings, rather than through written correspondence which can often be misinterpreted. This process is especially recommended to couples who have children since it is in the children’s best interests for their parents to continue to be able to communicate amicably in order to successful co-parent them as separated parents. Our family law solicitors Fiona Rasmusen and Hazel McLauchlan are both trained in collaborative law.
- Remember that arrangements for children post separation and the financial issues are separate. When considering what arrangement should be put in place for children the test the law applies is to consider what is in the children’s best interests. In Scotland the terms “contact” and “residence” are used as opposed to “access” and “custody”. There are no fixed rules concerning who the children should live with or when they should see the non-resident parent. It is possible to operate a shared care arrangement with your former spouse. A shared care arrangement will operate more successfully if you have been able to keep discussions/negotiations civil and amicable.
If you take the above tips into consideration you may be able follow in the footsteps of other couples who have taken “divorce selfies “ a happy photo marking their achievement of being able to divorce in a respectful, thoughtful and amicable manner, allowing them to move forward in a positive manners as parents, or perhaps just friends.
If you would like to discuss divorce or any other aspect of family law, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Family Law team on 0131 225 7558.