Some couples realise that the relationship isn’t working and they are able to dismantle their joint lives in a businesslike manner. Think Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin and their “conscious uncoupling”. In the main, however, couples struggle with the raw emotions a divorce can bring; feelings of anger, hurt and loss coupled with financial insecurity can feel overwhelming.
There is another way to resolve matters without the battle. Family law has, in recent years, evolved away from the ‘rottweiler’ image of win and lose. Let’s face it, are there any real winners in a divorce scenario? Priorities now for those who are separating, especially where there are children, are about fairness, communication, financial security and looking to the future with confidence.
Family Mediation – A mediator will meet with the couple, identify areas of dispute and assist in trying to reach an agreement. The mediator does not provide legal advice, but rather information and improved communication, and each party will still need a solicitor to guide them through their financial options.
Collaborative law – the primary purpose is to resolve financial issues without court and there is an agreement at the outset that this is the case. Each party has their own solicitor by their side at each meeting and the agenda is prepared based on what is important to this couple. Both solicitors are specifically trained and committed to helping find the best solutions by agreement.
Sometimes there is no other alternative but court. In those cases the focus is ensuring that your solicitor understands what you want to achieve and can help you reach a fair outcome as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
So what about the hen’s teeth? Although some may think that the notion of a ‘good divorce’ is unrealistic, it is achievable for many couples with the right advice and support. A good divorce is more likely for those couples who consciously resolve to treat their partners with respect and solve problems efficiently resulting in a fair and lasting settlement, not only for themselves, but for the benefit of their children. An outcome more valuable than hen’s teeth!
Carmelita Ardren is a partner, head of Raworths’ Family Law Unit, a collaborative lawyer and an advanced member of the Law Society Family Law Panel. To contact Raworths telephone 01423 566666 or visit our offices at Eton House, 89 Station Parade, Harrogate, HG1 1HF. Alternatively, visit our website on www.raworths.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org