New year, new you

The 10th of January will mark 2022’s “Divorce Day” – a day on which, according to many national newspapers, family lawyers receive a significant increase of enquiries following the Christmas period.

While there is little doubt that the Christmas period can represent a difficult time for any family, separated or otherwise, many family lawyers are uncomfortable with the idea of a “Divorce Day” as it feels both overblown and unhelpful to those dealing with the realities of a breakdown in their marriage. In short, it is not necessarily true that the New Year brings a rush of people to law firms seeking to divorce.

What the New Year does provide, however, is a time where people are afforded a chance to take stock on their marriages or relationships. This may not result in the supposed rush to seek a divorce as reported, but New Year can certainly give some renewed optimism for the future and, on occasions, a will to constructively move forward with any separation that a couple or individual may be considering.

Approaching the subject of divorce

There is never an easy way to broach the subject of a separation. Communication is almost always key to resolving issues, however sometimes people could do with a helping hand.

It may work if you and your partner have mutually agreed to separate or divorce, remain on good terms, communicate well with each other, and trust each other sufficiently to agree on how to share money and property, and arrangements for your children. Equally, you may not both agree that you should separate or divorce, or you may feel that you do not have sufficient trust between you to reach an agreeable solution without greater assistance.

In any scenario, a ‘good’ divorce is possible provided you and your partner adopt an approach that is right for your circumstances.

Options to divorce

If you are considering a divorce or separation, it can be helpful to seek advice at the first possible opportunity to gain a full understanding of the process in front of you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to divorce or separation, however there are a variety of solutions available to you to reach a conclusion once you have taken the decision to move forward, each with their own merits.

These include:

Discussions between you: You and your partner can reach an agreement between you, potentially with you each seeking advice from an independent lawyer who advises in each of your own best interests in the background.

Mediation: You and your partner jointly choose and attend sessions with a trained mediator who acts as an independent third party guiding you through your negotiations. This can be in conjunction with you each independently appointing your own lawyers to help advise on any issues arising from the sessions.

Lawyer negotiation: You and your partner each appoint a lawyers who conducts negotiations on your behalf, providing you with continuous advice as the matter progresses.

Collaborative Practice: You and your partner each appoint your own collaboratively trained lawyer and you and your respective lawyers all meet together to work things out face to face. Both of you will have your lawyer by your side throughout the process and so you will have their support and legal advice as you go.

Arbitration: You and your partner appoint an arbitrator, who will make a decision that will be final and binding between the parties, on any financial and property disputes or some child-related issues arising from family relationships.

Once divorce proceedings are underway, it is also possible to apply to the court to resolve financial or child-related disputes, however, given the emotional toll court proceedings can have on all parties, we would strongly recommend you seek advice before taking this step.

No Fault Divorce

In addition to the above, it should also be noted that from 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 will introduce the concept of ‘no fault’ divorces, whereby parties can divorce without assigning blame or fault on either party. This is a welcome change to the divorce process and, for the first time, allows couples to start the process in as amicable terms as possible by simply acknowledging that the time has come to separate.

How Moore Barlow Can Help

Resolving issues on separation can be a complex and emotional process and it can be important that you have legal support to help you and make sure you fully understand the process at every stage. At Moore Barlow, we have expertise suitable to assist you with any of the above approaches.

If you’re considering divorce or separation, please contact the family law experts at Moore Barlow for advice.