Often a divorce is the last step in a long process of uncoupling. Inevitably there is hurt and regret along the way, but everyone is different as to how and when. Very often some aspects of a separation and divorce are amicable, while others may produce friction.
As lawyers we see our job as being to build on points where there is agreement. Very often the couple are undecided as to who should initiate the divorce proceedings. It does not matter much in England who starts the divorce proceedings, and so deciding which of the couple should take that step is often the first point of agreement.
Another matter that is very often amicably sorted out is the practical arrangements as to who might leave home, what property is taken, who is to look after the pets etc.
Where there are children, again very often we find that parents can genuinely decide what is best for the children regardless of their own feelings about the situation.
Money matters inevitably cause the most friction, but again most couples sort them out. Going to a lawyer helps sort them out, because as lawyers we are used to analysing financial arrangements. Often just identifying the key issues helps, bringing clarity to the process. We find that once people can understand that actually they are only apart by relatively small issues – whereas they may have thought that they were apart on quite major issues – helps resolves things.
But reaching an amicable settlement does not mean that one party gets their own way! As lawyers we are always conscious of the need to get to an end-solution. That is why we think in terms of using the court process as a goad to break a deadlock. We do not encourage people to litigate for the sake of it. Where we recommend issuing proceedings, it is because we want to put a timeline on the whole process.
The very great majority of our matters end up being resolved by agreement. Talking to us is the first step.
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