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What’s the best way to divorce if you have children?

For a parent nothing – absolutely nothing – is more important than the wellbeing of their children. This means that, when parents decide to divorce, they carefully consider how they can lessen the negative impact it will have on their children.

More often than not, though, they focus on their post-divorce arrangements – on how they can both maintain a civil relationship and show their children a united front. This, in and of itself, is not a mistake. Indeed, such considerations are extremely important. All too often, though, divorcing parents think that this is all they’ll need to consider when the actual divorce process itself can, if handled poorly, completely undermine even the most well-thought-out plans.

How the divorce process can harm children

Sometimes, the divorce process is straightforward: paperwork is completed quickly and correctly, assets are divided without dispute and neither spouse needs to state that they were responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. At other times, there’ll be disagreements over who gets to stay in the matrimonial home, whose behaviour has brought about the divorce, even over who has to pay the court fees – the divorce process is more than capable of transforming two agreeable parents into two who simply cannot stand one another any longer. But how can this be avoided?

Wait until you’ve been separated for two years

The need to claim a spouse has behaved unreasonably or been unfaithful is, as we’ve discussed previously, something that regularly causes disputes. It can be avoided provided the parties have been living separately for two years, however.

By filing on the ground of two-year separation with consent, a couple can obtain a divorce without either blaming the other for the end of the marriage. This ground rarely causes conflict as a result.

Try and negotiate your own settlement/use a mediator

It’s important that you get your fair share of the marital assets, sure, but be careful your efforts aren’t don’t alienate your soon-to-be former spouse. You’ll need money to start a new-life but you’re also going to need to co-parent with this person for several years to come. Try to remember this if discussions get heated.

If you find that you can’t agree between yourselves, try a mediator before you head to a solicitor’s office. Once you’ve got legal help, your spouse is certain to go on the defensive making it even harder for you to reach a settlement.

Whereas solicitors can represent and negotiate for only one party, mediators will work with both in order to negotiate a settlement. This means that they are able to consider both party’s needs and are better placed to help the couple as a result.

Less conflict = an easier divorce

By following this advice, you’ll go a long way towards making the divorce process easier which, in turn, will significantly lessen the likelihood of it harming your platonic relationship.

Put simply, children of divorce are better served by parents whose divorces were not drawn-out, expensive and stressful.  

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