What sort of divorce do you want?

When we set up Smart Divorce, it was to help individuals and couples to divorce amicably. The blogs I have written have this idea at their heart. However, we have worked with clients who, whilst that might have been their preference, it has just not been possible. So, what sort of divorce do you want?

The Fight

Many people who I meet, particularly at the beginning of their divorce journey, want a fight. They feel that they have been wronged by their spouse and want them to pay. Whilst this an understandable reaction to the feeling of rejection by the person that you married and probably still love, it is worth considering the implications of this course of action. Firstly, fighting can be expensive. It will involve paying lawyers, barristers and often other specialists. The funds for this have to come from somewhere; the marital assets. Secondly, it is much more difficult to joint parent with someone you have fought in a court of law. Those divorcees I know who have found it easiest to move on and jointly parent their children have not fought each other.

Give Up Everything

The opposite to the fight is to agree to everything your ex wants. You may feel guilty, maybe you are responsible for the marital breakdown or maybe you have always abdicated responsibility to your spouse. It is a good idea to consult a lawyer. Neither party should just roll over. I have heard it said many times that neither party should be happy with the result but it should be acceptable to both and allow both to move on.

Amicable Settlement

There is a misunderstanding that this means letting the other person have their way. I wouldn't encourage that. Whilst there isn't an exact science to divide marital assets, there are guidelines. Family lawyers can help you to understand these. An amicable divorce is one where a financial settlement is agreed on by both parties, without the need for going to court. It also means that they can communicate and be in the same room together without animosity. There are many benefits of resolving your divorce this way:

  • Usually lower cost
  • Sets a good example to your children of how to manage relationships
  • Easier to move on afterwards
  • The people around you, such as friends and extended family, find it easier
  • Ongoing communication with your ex regarding the children is easier

My Ex Won't Agree

Sometimes the way your divorce proceeds is out of your control. If your ex wants a fight, it may not be possible to have an amicable settlement. However, you always have control over your own behaviour. You may be able to turn a fight amicable by your own calm and controlled manner.

Remember you will come out the other side. The first 12 months are always the worst.

If you have enjoyed this blog, you may also enjoy “When will things get better?”.

Tamsin Caine is a Chartered Financial Planner at Smart Divorce. She specialises in working with separating or divorcing clients to help them to understand how to divide their finances to move forward with their lives. If you would like to speak to Tamsin or find out more about how she can help, email her at Tamsin@smartdivorce.co.uk or call her on 07975 922766.

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