When it comes to Children the Bitterness of Divorce lasts longer!

Published on: 21 September 2016

When your marriage breaks down there is anger and resentment but don't lose sight of the bigger picture when you have children.

When instructed regarding the breakdown of a marriage we prioritise our client’s financial needs without neglecting the obvious fact that it is in everyone’s interest to focus on the end result rather than short term ‘points scoring’.  The end result being that ‘Family Life’ goes on and an amicable divorce can go a long way to ensuring that harboured grievances do not interfere with co-parenting after separation.

We recommend Non-fault Divorces where possible as they are the least contentious by virtue of the fact that they are without any allegation of unreasonable behaviour.

They fall into two categories :

A) After 2 years of separation Divorce with the consent of your ex-partner or

B)  After 5 years separation you can proceed whether your have your ex-partner ‘s consent or not.

As strange as it may seem fault only affects the division of matrimonial assets or care of children in a small percentage of cases.  Typically devoting time to the ‘blame game’ however justified you may feel it, only tends to add fuel to the flames.  We seek not to engage in ‘tit for tat’ correspondence with the other side.  Simply put its petty and leads only to emotion clouding judgement when the time comes to negotiate.  The mechanism of a non-fault Divorce avoids the need to agree or defend allegations of unreasonable behaviour by either side.  It allows the Divorce to proceed without reopening old wounds and ultimately saves you time, energy and money.

In situations where the separation has been less than 2 years, you must rely on unreasonable behaviour and we can assist in agreeing particulars that are palatable to both sides to allow the Divorce to proceed without conflict or delay.

Early discovery of financial information by both sides can help your legal team assess the likely division of matrimonial assets by the Court and to offer advice that can avoid the need for a Court hearing.  This is crucial to ensure early resolution and to avoid needless stressful Court appearances.  We are firm in our negotiation to ensure that your financial needs are met through the payment of lump sums, transfer of property, spousal maintenance and child maintenance where appropriate.  If agreement can not be reached then we can present your case to the Court for determination.

Crucially it is important that the children’s residence (custody) is established and contact arrangements with the non-resident parent are settled quickly so that the children don’t suffer unnecessarily from the dispute.  In most situations the future participation in decision making by the non-resident parent is in the childrens’ best interests and therefore your need to communicate with them is unavoidable in situations such as:

  1. Maintaining pre-divorce parenting styles in both homes (Homework, Bedtimes, Housework, Limits)
  2. Helping children to adjust to living in two homes (Do they have their space and are their needs met?)
  3. Costs of raising children and being cost effective
  4. Dealing with teenagers
  5. Special occasions – whether to attend together to support your children (Can you sit together or at least be civil?)
  6. School – activities, progress and information sharing (Keeping both parents informed is crucial)
  7. Summer Holidays
  8. Diets
  9. Health
  10. New Partners – (Addressing the situation with your ex rather upfront).
  11. In Laws – (Grandparents contact).

It is not difficult to recognise that perhaps the greatest challenge is not the Divorce itself but rather maintaining a relationship with your ex-partner post-Divorce to allow effective co-parenting.  Dealing with the Divorce in a ‘business like’ or ‘professional’ manner can lead to a swifter resolution short term whilst paving the way to a manageable relationship with your ex long term.  This can enable your children to grow up in an environment free from conflict at a time when their own emotional development is at its most vulnerable.

This may all seem ‘easier said than done’ you may say but isn’t it best to try or at least bear it in mind from the outset.

If you need any advice in this area please feel free to contact us for a suitable appointment.