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10 ways to take the drama out of divorce

We know the 'D' word isn't a pleasant one but it doesn't have to become a drama-fuelled slanging match if you follow this expert advice.

It’s not something anyone plans for when they’re in the blissful honeymoon phase, but some marriages just run their course and divorce becomes the only viable option.

It doesn’t have to mean mud slinging and dragging the family through the courts though. Just look at Autumn and Peter Phillips who finalised their divorce amicably this week – if a Royal couple under the media spotlight can do it, anyone can!

So, cast aside those TV soap-style images of couples chucking plates at each other across the room and airing their dirty laundry in public… the practical side of divorce can be made relatively pain-free. Follow these top tips from Natalie Lester, Senior Family Lawyer from local solicitors firm, Debenhams Ottaway for starters.

wedding rings

1.Seek the right advice – Family law can be very complex, so it is important to instruct a specialist family solicitor early on, who has a good working knowledge of the law.

2. Don’t use the children – If you do have kids together it is important to respect the other person in their capacity as your child’s parent. Avoid speaking negatively about them in the presence of your children and try to support and encourage contact and communication between your children and your spouse.

3. This one’s crucial – contrary to what we’re constantly shown on the small screen, divorce is NOT about winning or losing. You are going to need to compromise so that you can both live independently of each other.

4. Keep talking – If appropriate, try to maintain an open dialogue with your spouse. Where certain matters can be resolved without the assistance of lawyers, try and do so – this might include returning to the property to collect post and personal belongings, caring for pets, or dealing with home maintenance.

couple holding hands

5. Try mediation – this is not only for couples who are trying to make their marriage work but also to assist with negotiating differences when they are divorcing. Choose a family trained mediator, who is a mutually selected impartial person.

6. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public! – During the divorce, private and confidential information will be considered, and information about assets, liabilities, employment, children, and relationships will be looked at. Avoid discussing this information with anyone else and DO NOT share details on social media, however tempting it might be if you’re feeling emotional or angry.

7. Organise your finances – Financial disclosure is a key part of the divorce process, and it will save time and costs if you keep your finances organised before involving your solicitor.

couple signing documents

8. Treat it like a business transaction – While it’s naturally an emotional time, try to avoid your feelings interfering with negotiations and reaching a financial settlement. Therapy and counselling can help support your mental health and wellbeing, making you better able to deal with things.

9. Respect new partners – while it can be painful to the other person, if either of you have met new partners and formed new relationships, try to respect this, and don’t let your feelings about a ‘new flame’ interfere with your negotiations. Your priority is reaching a fair settlement for both sides.

10. Ask questions! – Divorce is like an onion; there are lots of layers to it. If you do not understand something, don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor to explain it clearly to you. This is your divorce, and you need to understand what is going on.

For more information on divorce or family law, or any other legal advice such as buying or selling property, making a will, managing a business or setting up a trust, contact Debenhams Ottaway Solicitors.

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