Can divorce ever be easy?
Can divorce ever be easy?
It’s a simple question, and one that, one suspects, often goes through the mind of those involved in, or contemplating, divorce. Divorce has a reputation for being one of the most difficult and stressful things anyone has to go through during their lifetime, but does it have to be that way?
The simple answer is: no, it does not have to be difficult. Divorce can be easy, at least from the point of view of the legal process. Of course, there is also the emotional side to the divorce – that is a different issue, but making the legal side easy will surely help to keep the emotional pain to a minimum.
An easy divorce
Let us just stop to think for a moment what legal matters need to be resolved when a divorce takes place.
First of all there is the divorce itself. Thankfully, we will soon have a system of no-fault divorce, in which neither party has to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage, and defended divorces will not be possible. Hopefully, this will make the divorce itself much easier than it can be now.
But that is still a little way away – the Lord Chancellor has indicated that the government is aiming to implement the new law in the autumn next year. Until then, we are left with the current system, but that doesn’t mean that the divorce itself must be difficult, as there are ways to make it (relatively) easy.
Secondly, if there are any dependent children then arrangements will have to be made as to with whom they will live, and (if there is not a shared care arrangement) what contact they should have with the other parent. In most cases there is no reason why these arrangements cannot be agreed between the parents, without any involvement of lawyers or the courts.
Lastly, there is the financial aspect of the divorce. Whilst it is certainly advisable to seek the assistance of a lawyer it is quite possible in most cases for this to be quite easy to deal with. Note, however, that even if you can agree matters you should still get a court order, to ensure that the agreement is final and enforceable.
For more information about how to have an amicable divorce, see this post.
A not so easy divorce
If divorce can be easy why, then, is it often so hard?
There are essentially two factors, and both may be out of your control: complexity and failure to agree.
Sometimes, there is a complex issue to resolve that means the divorce will not be easy. This is most often the case in relation to financial matters, for example where there are trusts, complicated business arrangements, or foreign assets. In such cases it may not be possible to agree a financial settlement, even with the best will in the world.
But the most common reason for divorce not being easy is quite simply that the parties are unable to agree matters. This might be due to animosity, or simply because the parties’ views as to what is fair are so far apart. One party may also refuse to engage in any out of court dispute resolution process, such as mediation.
Of course, you can try to reduce any animosity, and try to find a ‘common ground’ with the other party. But if they insist upon taking an aggressive or unreasonable stance, then there may be no way to avoid a difficult divorce, possibly involving contested court proceedings – you should certainly not ‘give in’ to unreasonable demands, just to make it easy.
We can help
Having said that, we would definitely recommend that you do everything you reasonably can to try to have an easy divorce. And with our expertise and non-confrontational approach, we can help you with that aim. To find out more, and to get started with one of our specialist lawyers, click here.