Statistics reveal that over 100,000 divorces are issued across the courts in England and Wales each year. It is a sad fact of life that marriages (or indeed civil partnerships or relationships in general) sometimes do not work out.
However, that does not always mean that separating from your spouse has to be an acrimonious affair; full of arguments, conflict and mud throwing. It is possible to have an “amicable’ divorce. What you need is support, advice from an early stage and to approach the separation and surrounding issues in a non-confrontational manner.
The road to an amicable divorce – Resolution and Collaborative Law
Solicitors within Farleys are members or affiliated members of Resolution, an organisation that promotes resolution of family issues in an amicable, non-confrontational way, ideally without court proceedings. The idea of the Resolution approach is that clients can reach an agreement with their spouse that they are happy with and meets the needs of both parties.
What Resolution (http://www.resolution.org.uk/) impresses upon us as solicitors is to remember that a divorce or separation is an emotional rollercoaster for most clients and that the phases of emotion that people go through (shock, denial, anger, resentment, depression) are the same often experienced in the grieving process. It will take time but there is support to help clients through this.
Within Farleys, we have seen an increased interest in clients seeking a solicitor trained in Collaborative Law. These are family law solicitors who have obtained additional training to work with clients with the aim of resolving family disputes without going to court.
The benefits to clients are that they each have their own Collaborative Law Solicitor who is in attendance at all meetings. The agenda of the meetings and the pace of resolving the issues is set by the clients. The aim is to resolve the issues without the need to go to court and on the whole, the process is extremely successful. Further, most clients find it is a more cost effective option too! At the moment, collaborative law only covers financial issues.
Issues regarding children can often be the cause of the disputes between separating couples. The law is clear – parents must act in the best interests of the children and their welfare is paramount. It is a common acceptance within the legal profession that a divorce itself does not harm children, but the arguing between parents can do!
Children need stability and routine. They should see both their parents and be allowed to have good quality fun time with them. At Farleys, we accept that in certain situations, this cannot happen. But in a vast majority of cases, if parents agree to share their time with the children and if parents communicate amicably with each other about schooling and health issues, then a child can sustain the breakdown of their parents’ relationship without being affected.
Above all, what we as divorce solicitors have seen over the last few months is an increase in the number of people coming to see us before they separate. Clients are actively seeking legal advice prior to separating from their partner in relation to separation, divorce, finances and children in the hope that they can then deal with the breakdown of their relationship in a more amicable way.