SPONSORED: How to ensure the separation process is as smooth as possible

SPONSORED: How to ensure the separation process is as smooth as possible

What are the main dos and don’ts that a couple / individual should and shouldn’t do to ensure the separation process is as smooth as possible?

  • Do take legal advice at an early stage to understand your options and plan ahead.
  • Do try and keep communication open, particularly in relation to arrangements for children. Consider mediation and the collaborative law as an alternative to court to try and address issues in relation to children and finances.
  • Do try to be constructive and non-confrontational with one another when negotiating.  This reduces conflict and makes working towards a solution quicker and easier. Be open and honest, particularly in relation to financial disclosure.
  • Do focus on what is important in the longer term.
  • Don’t be dishonest or misleading in relation to your financial position.
  • Don’t prioritise your own interests – try and focus on achieving a fair outcome for everyone involved, particularly children.
  • Don’t dwell on the past or apportion blame.
  • Don’t make threats or issue ultimatums.

Are there any pitfalls one should avoid when it comes to managing children’s lives post-split? (And is mediation a good idea?)
Always try to avoid putting children in the middle of adult issues. Stay focused on the children’s needs and make sure the children feel secure and supported by both parents.

Amicable agreements reached between parents are far more likely to work in the long term and when they’re focused on what works for the children, in their own unique family circumstances.

Mediation can help with finding a positive arrangement for the children and family as a whole, as it enables both sides to keep control of the divorce process and reach an agreement rather than have a decision imposed on them by the courts. It’s also helpful for parents to clarify arrangements with a written parenting plan.

Any advice for non-married couples who are separating and have children together?
Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples and (as unfair as it may seem) might not have any entitlement to assets, including the home that they live in. Parents will always have obligations to support children but not each other and sometimes it is possible to make other financial claims on behalf of children as well as for maintenance. This can be far from straightforward and specialist legal advice should always be sought.

Couples in an unmarried relationship should always consider entering into a cohabitation agreement to make the financial position clear in the event of their break-up.

Do you think ‘no fault’ divorces will make proceedings more amicable? Why is this?
The divorce law which applies today in England and Wales came into effect in 1973 and is long overdue an overhaul. The current law requires divorcing couples to separate for a period of two years or more otherwise the divorce must be based on one party’s unreasonable behaviour or adultery. This means that one party will have to ‘take the blame’ and blame can increase conflict. This in turn hinders the possibility of agreements being reached both in relation to arrangements for children and financial matters.

Removing blame is likely to lead to greater acceptance of the relationship breakdown and a willingness to try and resolve issues more amicably.

In these incredibly difficult and uncertain circumstances we are able to advise and guide you. If you wish to speak to a solicitor for advice on your own circumstances, then feel free to contact me directly.

T: 01628 502429
E: m.aslam@gardner-leader.co.uk

Visit www.gardner-leader.co.uk/our-services/specialist-family-solicitors/  

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