Associate Solicitor Amy Langford from The Family Law Company looks at ways to make breaking up a little less painful.
January’s infamous ‘Divorce Day’ has officially passed. Of course, this doesn’t mean people will be free from relationship breakdown for the rest of the year – it can happen at any time. This is often a time of hurt and stress but if the right approach is taken, it does not have to be as negative and difficult as one may think. The breakdown of a relationship can actually go smoothly if handled with consideration.
Things you can do to help
- Put the children first in everything. The court will always consider the children’s well-being as a first consideration when deciding financial matters in a divorce. Think how to best provide for your children before considering what you want for yourself.
- Try mediation. This is a non-confrontational way to have a discussion and reach an agreement regarding financial matters and/or children matters without having to go to court. It is also less expensive than issuing court proceedings.
- If you are in financial proceedings, provide full financial disclosure. The court takes a very dim view if financial assets are not disclosed. If you delay in providing disclosure it will only prolong matters and prevent you from moving forward.
- Try to communicate without getting angry or passing blame. If communication becomes difficult you might decide to leave it to the solicitors or only communicate via email. Avoid communicating late at night or when you are feeling emotional and try to keep interactions as neutral as possible. If you are asking your ex-spouse/partner for a change in current circumstances (particularly in relation to children) try to explain the reasoning behind what you want to happen and keep it child-focused.
Things to avoid
- Don’t make sweeping statements or accusations as this will only upset the other party and increase the tension between you.
- Don’t delay in responding to court orders or solicitor’s letters. A prompt response keeps matters moving forward and legal fees to a minimum. Failing to provide information to the court hinders the process and reflects negatively on you.
- Don’t involve the children; keep them protected from ongoing court proceedings. Don’t speak negatively about your ex-partner in front of them or behave in a way that forces them to take sides. Try to stay positive and enthusiastic about the time your child is spending with their other parent.
- Don’t ignore the fact that your relationship has broken down. Whilst it may be tempting to hope everything goes away, particularly if you do not want to get divorced or separated, pretending nothing is happening will not help. If your spouse has filed an application for divorce, then they clearly believe the marriage is over. As much as you may wish it were otherwise, refusing to cooperate will only prolong the process and ultimately make matters more painful for you. Similarly, if your ex-partner has left you and wants to talk about the time they spend with the children, engage in the conversation. If you ignore them and refuse to talk you might find yourself receiving court papers. If at all possible, it is far better to talk about resolving children matters, perhaps with the help of a mediator, before rushing to court.
Going through relationship breakdown can be difficult but the correct legal advice prevents unnecessary stress and worry. Having a family law specialist to assist you will ensure that any matters that ought to be dealt with alongside your relationship breakdown do not go unnoticed or forgotten. At The Family Law Company, we always try to take a calm approach to any matter and avoid an unnecessarily adversarial approach whenever possible.
If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please contact us. Your first appointment is free.