• Posted

Inevitably, getting a divorce means changes to the family routine, home and dynamics. However, adopting a healthy approach can help prevent unnecessary upset and stress.

Parents considering a divorce need to be ready to get things done, leave behind blame and focus on putting their family first. Knowing how to do this can seem overwhelming, which is where the advice of an experienced family lawyer becomes irreplaceable.

Family lawyer, Annabel Andreou, is an expert in all areas of divorce and family law and has helped many couples navigate separations efficiently and smoothly, seeking bespoke resolutions that have helped them take those all-important next steps. Below, she shares some tips she’s learned over the years that can help spouses have a good divorce.

1. Leave conflict at the door

There’s no place for blame games as you move through the separation process. All that conflict will achieve is slowing things down, making negotiations more difficult, and distressing the children. Irrelevant to how you feel about your spouse, now it’s all about making decisions that are in the best interests of your family.

There are several dispute resolution methods on offer to make it easier for couples to achieve this. Spouses can attend mediation to help them reach an agreement on important issues, such as child arrangements and the division of financial assets.

Depending on their circumstances, they may find round table discussions or solicitor correspondence more useful. We’d always advise turning to court only as a last resort, as proceedings are likely to be costly, lengthy and emotionally triggering.

2. Approach discussions openly and honestly

If appropriate to do so, it’s important to try and keep the lines of communication open. This will assist with reaching a workable agreement and achieve cohesive decision-making regarding your children’s welfare. Just because you will no longer be married, this doesn’t mean either spouse stops being a parent.

Getting your financial assets in order can be an important first step toward effective communication. Once you understand what you have, it’s easier to work out what resources your children need for their continued care. It’s important to harbour realistic expectations in these talks, and be truthful about what support you need, to ensure assets are divided fairly.

It’s also best to establish some communication boundaries – preferred contact times and methods – for each spouse to use. A WhatsApp chat is an efficient way to organise child arrangements and prevents children from becoming go-betweens – a position that only leads to increased stress and confusion.

3. Adopt a co-parenting style approach

Both of you, unless there are issues of safety, will remain equally responsible for raising your children, setting the rules and sharing parenting duties. For children’s continued stability and reassurance, both parents must stay actively involved with their lives.

This means reaching an agreement on how they will be raised and disciplined – often, adopting a co-parenting approach can facilitate this. This means that regardless of where the children are staying, the same rules are implemented by both parents.

Maintaining similar patterns, such as curfews, bedtimes, and rules regarding gaming, will provide children with the consistency they need to feel safe and at ease. Both are essential for helping them adjust to the new routine and ensuring healthy development.

4. Discuss the divorce with your children

Children are naturally inquisitive and intuitive – they’ll be able to sense when change is afoot, even if you believe they’re unaware of the divorce or are ok with the changes. No matter their age, it’s important for children to be kept informed of any adaptations to their daily routine and to hear that everything will be ok.

How you approach these conversations will depend on the child’s age. Young children won’t be able to grasp the concept of a divorce but should be informed of where their other parent is living and updated on when they’ll be seeing them next. .

Children older than eight may be more familiar with the term divorce, which could cause them to worry. It’s essential to sit down with them, learn what they understand and explain the situation, so they know where they stand.

For teenagers, it’s quite normal if they have an adverse reaction to news of divorce. In these situations, it’s best to stay calm and not take it personally. Remember, teenagers have their own set of issues to contend with, which is likely contributing to their behaviour. It’s a good idea to explore other resources they can use to express themselves. Enlisting the services of a school counsellor or a well-being group will provide them with a space where they can talk freely.

5. Don’t lose hope

Moving through a divorce is never easy. It comes with its own set of challenges and can be an emotionally draining and uncomfortable time. However, even in some of the most tumultuous divorces I’ve witnessed, everything has worked out, and the family has moved forward together, albeit in a different format from before. Engaging the right help from the beginning can go a long way towards simplifying the process.

Our family law team is ranked one of the best in the area and is adept at handling complex and high-value divorce cases. We can provide clear, professional and friendly advice and find tailored solutions that fit your family’s needs. We’re here to listen and, more importantly, here to help in whatever way we can, so you can find the answers you need to protect your family and create a brighter future for them.

Contact Annabel Andreou on 01727 229312 or email afa@debenhamsottaway.co.uk to find out more.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.