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How to avoid an acrimonious divorce

A divorce is an obvious statement that a couple no longer want to be married.

For most it seems that it must be acrimonious but the process of divorcing does not have to be ugly.

If there are children, it is very important to keep things amicable. Whatever the status of the marriage or divorce, the parties will always remain and be parents to their children; and effective communication is key to good parenting in these difficult circumstances.

All easy to say but how can this be achieved and a War of the Roses type scenario avoided.

Agree the Divorce: For some parties who have been separated, they can file a divorce based on the consensual ground of separation for at least two years. For others, the spouses should work to see if there is an acceptable way forward and to actually attempt to agree the contents of the divorce. This is also to avoid the feeling or fear that one spouse has blindsided the other. A party can think they can obtain some type of tactical advantage but what this usually does is up the ante and increase legal costs. There is a time and a place for tactics. Yes, potentially consider tactics if there is an international dimension but for most there is no real advantage, just an emotional one which is only ever short term. Consider the bigger picture and the medium to longer term implications including higher legal costs which are unnecessary.

Instruct a Divorce Lawyer: while it may seem that instructing a divorce lawyer would make things more adversarial, the reality is that a divorce lawyer can help focus his or her client on the important issues and keep emotions in check. Whilst looking after the client’s best interests, the divorce lawyer is not as emotionally involved. Therefore, the divorce lawyer can advise the client to look at the bigger, longer term picture and help reach a resolution as amicably as possible. This is also to actually save time and money.

Communicate: The best piece of non-legal divorce advice is communicate, communicate and communicate. Only with effective communication can bridges be built and agreements reached.

Compromise: This is not a sign of weakness or something that shows a party has settled for less. It can actually be sign of strength and be shown for being sensible. Always consider what are the possible costs, risks and benefits in proceeding with a certain course of action.

Look at any Agreements: if the couple have entered a pre-marital agreement prior to getting married or a separation agreement following the breakdown then many of the issues that seem contentious may have already been decided by that particular agreement. If there is a dispute over the pre-marital agreement or separation agreement the divorce process can actually become more contentious than it would otherwise be without such an agreement.

Make a Financial Disclosure: it is not all about the other party. Everyone needs to get their own house in order. There is a duty to provide a full, frank and clear financial disclosure. To negotiate a well thought out and fair financial settlement on divorce, all the cards need to be placed on the table and face up! It is important everyone knows what the net asset base is of the case and that includes resolving any valuation, pension and tax issues for example. Otherwise the parties will be singing from different hymn sheets and no agreement will be reached.

Mediate: Couples who participate in mediation often benefit from being represented by a divorce lawyer behind the scenes to ensure that all of their rights are protected before they provide their consent to a mediated agreement.

And Don’t Forget the Children: I need not say anymore.

Divorce can be a very difficult and emotional time. By trying to work together rather than pulling apart, you can, with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer, avoid unpleasant divorce proceedings.

Maguire Family Law is a specialist firm of Family Law and Divorce Law solicitors based in Wilmslow, Cheshire. We offer legal advice to parties going through a divorce including the financial issues which flow from this and children matters including child maintenance.
We can also advise on Schedule1 Children Act 1989 applications.

We advise clients in the Wilmslow area and also to the surrounding areas of Alderley Edge, Bramhall, Hale, Altrincham, Manchester and the North West. We are also able to act for clients nationally and internationally subject to the jurisdiction of England and Wales. For advice please contact James Maguire by telephone +44 (0) 1625 529456 or by email james.maguire@family-law.co.uk

For specialist advice on any family law related issue contact Maguire Family Law by email: james.maguire@family-law.co.uk or telephone:

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