How can you have a “good” divorce?

The makers of Love Island are reportedly creating a new TV show called “The Good Divorce Club”, described as a show to help divorcing couples start their new lives, and give them the opportunity to separate in a “safe place”.

It’s interesting to think about referring to divorce as “good”. Divorce is often an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved, and it can be particularly difficult for children. Individuals going through a relationship breakdown often report feelings very similar to grief.

With Resolution’s Good Divorce Week coming up next week, I’ve been thinking about what a “good” divorce could look like. In my experience, I would consider a good divorce to be an amicable one, where any unnecessary stress and conflict is avoided, wherever possible. Think about what Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin were attempting to do with their “conscious uncoupling” back in 2014.

While emotions will undoubtedly be high at the start of the process, one of the best things you can do is to remember to look to the future.

So, here are my top tips for a more amicable, or “good”, divorce:

  1. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. 

Couples who decide to divorce have often been experiencing conflict or a breakdown in communication for some time. It is therefore easy for conflict or unhelpful communication styles to continue into the separation and divorce process. Although difficult, try to leave that behind and focus on the bigger things that need to happen to move forward and get things resolved between you.

  1. Get legal advice as soon as possible.

This may sound counterproductive, as people often think going to see a solicitor will start an expensive litigious process. However, the Court should be a last resort for dividing your finances and making arrangements for your children, and your solicitor can advise you of your options outside of making a Court application. As a member of Resolution, our job is to work in a way to try to minimise conflict between spouses, rather than fuel it. Mediation is a popular alternative for sorting through issues, but it is more likely to be successful if you have some legal advice beforehand, to manage expectations of your joint mediation sessions.

  1. The 10-minute rule. 

When communicating with your ex-spouse via email or text and it feels like things are escalating to the point of high emotion or aggression, pause and write what you would like to say, but DON’T send it. Then, put your phone down and do something else for 10-minutes. When you return to your message, read it again and see if you are still happy with what you have said and the way you have said it. Replying instantly when you are angry can make situations worse and by taking a few minutes to clear your head you can avoid unnecessary arguments. It is also wise not to share your personal feelings on social media, as this can often lead to upset and fraught emotions.

  1. Focus on the future. 

This one is particularly important, especially if you have children together. Your marriage may be ending, but your co-parenting relationship is not. Imagine your children’s birthday parties, graduations, weddings, all of those important life events that will happen in the future. You will often still need to be in the same room as each other and perhaps even sit next to each other at these sorts of events. Your children will not thank you if you are unable to do this.

Although a completely amicable divorce it not always possible or realistic in all circumstances, by keeping the process as civil as possible you will feel much better about the process when you come out the other side.

Need some advice? The family team at Hedges Law are offering a limited number of free appointments, as part of Good Divorce Week 2022, both online and at our Wallingford Office. We will provide guidance and information on the splitting of matrimonial assets, including money, businesses, property, pensions and income. If you are interested in one of these appointments call us on 01865 594265 and mention “Good Divorce Week”.