Celebrity divorces involving acrimonious exchanges, vicious accusations and countless hours spent with lawyers are always big news. In the real world, however, divorce does not have to be the stressful and expensive business that some celebrity magazines would have you believe. In fact, if you and your partner have roughly the same ideas on how you want your divorce to proceed, it can be quick, relatively painless and costs can be kept to a minimum.
Reaching a consensus
The first thing to do is to communicate with your partner about what you both expect from the divorce. If there are no children and relatively few assets, this can be a case of just taking from the marriage what you brought into it. Where children are involved, however, there are necessarily some arrangements that need to be made regarding access and maintenance. If these can be agreed between the two of you, then the divorce itself will be much easier. If there is a failure to reach consensus, it may be wise to seek mediation. In fact, most courts will expect that some sort of mediation is attempted in such cases before they will make a judgement. When children are involved, always do your best to keep matters amicable, as ultimately it is the children who suffer when their parents argue.
Keeping costs low
Although online divorces offer a quick and ultimately cheap way to settle affairs between divorcing couples, they are only really practical where no contention exists and children are not involved. In other cases, it is always wise to seek advice from a good divorce solicitor, as he will be able to ensure that you gather all the facts at your disposal and that you are aware of your rights regarding division of assets and child-related issues. Nevertheless, there are easy in which to keep the cost of the divorce as low as possible. As mentioned before, the more that you can agree between yourselves, the easier the divorce process is. Fewer problems and less arguing help to keep costs down, as each letter and phone call to and from the solicitor adds to the overall bill. A good solicitor will do his best to ensure that your rights are protected without creating problems where none previously existed, so do speak to your solicitor about what you are willing to compromise on and in which areas you are unwilling to cede ground.
Although you and your partner have reached the point where you no longer wish to be married, it’s best to look at the divorce process not as a means of revenge, but as a means of moving on and starting a new life. When one party sees the process as a way in which he can score points, the divorce inevitably becomes complex and messy. Stay calm, try not to get involved in point scoring and, if in doubt, limit direct communication with your partner to matters on which there is a chance of agreement, leaving the rest up to your solicitor.
Composed on behalf of family solicitors Hibbert’s family lawyers who look to present informative points on important aspects of the industry.