More often than not, a potential client’s first statement on contacting us is ‘I want an amicable divorce’. You might have recently watched ‘Us’ on BBC1 about Douglas and Connie who separate after over 20 years of marriage. Douglas desperately tries to convince Connie that they can still make things work, but ultimately they both come to the conclusion that the marriage has run its course and there is a touching scene where they divide the contents of their home from their life together between them. Many people would have watched the programme and thought it is not possible to be that amicable when separating.

A divorce is one of the most stressful events that someone can go through during their lifetime, but it doesn’t have to be full of conflict. There are various things that you can do to try and remain amicable. Mediation is a good resource to help you try and reach an agreement about a number of things on separation or divorce. Mediation is not marriage counselling, which is a common misconception. It is a process whereby an independent third party will help you both try and reach agreement about a number of different issues including children and finances. There is also a huge amount of online support in how to tell your children you are separating.

Communication is extremely important. There will almost undoubtedly be bumps along the way, but if you can keep a channel of communication open, be as honest as possible and never assume anything, those bumps will hopefully be few and far between. It is also important to get a good support network around you, whether this be friends, family or a counsellor. Often someone like a counsellor offering an objective view can be helpful when different situations arise.

I often refer to divorce as being similar to a bereavement. There are stages, just like the loss of a loved one, that a person will go through when they divorce. Sometimes one person is much further down the track on the rollercoaster of emotions and it is often worth giving that person some time to catch up to enable you to have that amicable divorce.

Finally seeking legal advice. Getting legal advice is not an aggressive move. Being informed of options should not be viewed as going in for battle, on the contrary if your lawyer is resolution minded they should be discussing all of the above with you where appropriate. When deciding what lawyer to instruct if you can, go by recommendation. If someone you know has used a lawyer who they feel you would benefit from seeing go with that. Your lawyer would ideally be a member of Resolution which is an organisation that family lawyers belong to that promotes a constructive approach to family issues.

Therefore yes, it is possible to have an amicable divorce. All of the family lawyers at Ellisons are members of Resolution and are committed to approaching matters, wherever we can, in an amicable manner and we can work with you to try and achieve that. If you would like to speak to one of our family lawyers please do not hesitate to get in touch.