01 December 2022

Good Divorce Week and the importance of early advice

Believe it or not, it is possible to have a good divorce: One in which both parties separate agreeably and on a sustainable footing, with their wellbeing and emotions having been taken into account.

Nobody enters a marriage expecting to separate one day, but in the UK an estimated 42% of marriages end in divorce and early advice from a reputable divorce solicitor can make all the difference.

This week is Good Divorce Week which highlights the current delays in family courts and the many ways in which people can resolve disputes away from court. 

Why Good Divorce Week is needed

There are massive delays in the family courts at the moment, but, as Good Divorce Week 2022 demonstrates, the best divorces are agreed outside of the courtroom.

The divorce process has recently changed, and it is not as contentious as it once was. ‘No fault divorce’ was introduced in April 2022, meaning there is no need for either party to be blamed any more. While this change has been positively received and it has helped to create a smoother process, other alterations have meant the divorce process can be a more lengthy one. 

A 20 week cooling off period has been introduced, allowing both parties time to reflect and agree on practical arrangements surrounding their separation. In reality, this period lasts longer than 20 weeks, due to the time it takes to apply for a conditional order, and for the court to process the conditional order and final order applications.

Clients should therefore be aware that this is causing delays, and this is exacerbated if people don't issue the divorce proceedings from the get go. 

The importance of getting early advice 

For many people when their marriage is ending, it can be easy to pretend it’s not happening and avoid seeking early advice. People may do this for a number of reasons such as wanting to do right by their spouse, or simply burying their heads in the sand.

Often, people might start to put a few things in place and make sometimes quite big decisions for themselves without consulting with a solicitor. This can be particularly dangerous for business owners, farming families and people who employ their spouses. 

Then, a few months down the line, they may find when they finally take advice, that they have agreed to arrangements which are not in their best interests, and may have given up more than they needed to or had anticipated, potentially costing them more money, time, heartache and ultimately, legal fees. 

It's for all those reasons that coming in to see us early, even if you think you might not need us, to get some initial information and advice can be really beneficial. It can help you make some of the big life decisions you’ll need to make, and with our support, you may find they’re not as bad as you might have feared.

We can give bespoke advice on a fixed fee basis helping you keep control of your costs. We can help you identify what’s good, bad, or indifferent in terms of a settlement, and we will explore options to negotiate it for you. We can also look at mediation or other dispute resolution options in order to avoid a court process.

Helping clients to go through a ‘good’ divorce

A ‘good divorce’ for us is one that hasn't been imposed upon them. Divorce is never going to be an easy experience, but if both parties feel their settlement was fair and they leave their marriage with dignity and respect, they’ve had a ‘good’ divorce.

At Wilkin Chapman we subscribe to Resolution’s code of practice and we take our role responsibly and seriously. We have many different approaches that we can adopt - so every divorce is tailor-made to the specifics of your circumstances, needs and preferences. We always seek a collaborative, non-aggressive approach that aims for sensible resolutions that are cost-effective and efficient, keeping everybody on board and informed, but we're not afraid to say what we think and give a view or an opinion. We are not afraid to stand up for what we believe in, and always do the best by our clients.

People separate for all kinds of reasons, the best lawyers are the ones that take a thoughtful and considered approach, doing the right thing in the right way to make the outcome as good as possible.

It’s important to choose your divorce lawyer wisely because you need to feel comfortable and you need to trust them. Knowing you’ll be listened to, understood and are in experienced hands is essential. You need to have confidence in your family lawyer to guide you and guide you well. If you do that, then you are giving yourself the best chance of going through a ‘good’ divorce.

Lisa Boileau, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Lisa to discuss this further.

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