Family breakdown is one of the most challenging and debilitating experiences clients can face. Its potential impact on the emotional and physical wellbeing of the couple involved, on their financial health and potentially also on the wellbeing of their children cannot be underestimated. The fact that its impact is often likened to bereavement is testimony to its potentially far-reaching consequences.
When families are already enduring the consequences of global economic uncertainty and huge pressures on family budgets and lifestyle, contemplating the additional pressures of navigating a separation can seem overwhelming.
Steps to mitigate costs of divorce
But there are steps couples can take to mitigate these pressures and the costs of divorce. Some may seem more obvious than others.
- First and foremost, avoid going to court. Unless there are compelling reasons for a divorce to be in court (e.g., domestic abuse or where there are intractable disputes about the country in which children will live following a separation) resolving your differences constructively is a priority. Talk to one another; to counsellors if need be and instruct a solution focussed lawyer who will navigate your separation constructively.
- Think about mediation or collaboration – these provide a forum for resolving things in a dignified way and which put you back in control of the process.
- Expect your lawyer to be transparent about costs. Make sure you have a clear picture of how much the process will cost and insist that you receive monthly fees so you can keep on top of your expenditure. Your lawyer should give you an overall cost estimate and let you know if for any reason that must change. This will enable you to budget wisely.
- Encourage your children to talk to you and to your partner about how they are feeling. If possible, you should be consistent in the message you are both giving them. Candour is always best but they really don't need to know the detailed reasons for the breakdown of your relationship. But they do need to be reassured of the role you will continue to play in their lives; of your love for them and about the practicalities of where they will live and the shape of their lives following your separation. As soon as these things are clear you should share the information with your children.
And so, if you are able to engage in a process which allows you to separate well, which fosters constructive dialogue and which places your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your children at the heart of things then you will be able to mitigate to some extent the costs of separation.
If you want to discuss any of the matters above, please don't hesitate to get in touch - we're here to help.