For some, the concept of a ‘good’ divorce is a contradiction in terms. How can a divorce ever be good? After all, nobody wants to be in the situation of going through a divorce. The very notion of divorce conjures up images of arguments, significant change and challenges - times where a couple experience complex negative emotions such as pain, anger, shame and fear. Indeed, with the exception of close family bereavement, most research suggests that a divorce is one of the most stressful and difficult events that someone can experience.
A good divorce process
Given the difficulties divorce brings it is fair to say that the concept of a ‘good divorce’ is perhaps a bit misleading. It may be better to think of a good divorce as shorthand for a good divorce process or perhaps a divorce that is not as ‘bad’ as it could have been. The purpose of the Good Divorce Week campaign is to promote better ways of dealing with the process of divorce. This concept is much more nuanced (and harder to promote in the media). However, to break it down it may be easier to think of there being four different elements to a divorce:
The emotional separation
The physical separation
The financial separation
The legal separation
Each of these elements can be managed in different ways. In turn, the way one element is managed will have an impact on the other elements. If all the elements are managed in a way that is fair, respectful and calm then there is a greater ability for all parties involved, including any children, to recover more quickly from the impact of a relationship breakdown. Adopting a good process for each element will not necessarily result in a good divorce; it just means there are likely to be better outcomes than there would otherwise be. It is the best way to navigate what is invariably a bad time in life for those involved, so that the good times return more quickly.
How to have a good divorce process?
A later blog will look at this question in more detail, considering each of the elements of divorce set out above. However, there are some fundamental ingredients required:
You both need to view the divorce as a shared challenge to overcome, rather than a contest that is to be won.
You need to be able to cooperate with your former partner to manage each of the four elements of separation, being respectful of the different challenges you may each face.
You need to consider what help and support you will need, accept that you need it and to then seek out support from people who align with your goals.
If you have children, you both need to put them at the centre of all decisions; considering the impact such decisions will have on them.
None of this is easy. It is also important to highlight that a good divorce process is dependent on both parties involved. For some, such as those leaving an abusive relationship, the reality is therefore likely to be that a good divorce process will be out of reach. Instead, the focus will instead be on minimising the damage. However, for many a good divorce process is possible and highlighting this in the Good Divorce Week campaign has never been more important.
At Boyes Turner we are committed to giving everyone the best divorce process available to them. We will consider carefully all the issues you face and, as well as managing the legal process in the most suitable manner to achieve your goals, we work with and recommend other reputable professionals. This will provide you with a team approach that helps you back to the better times ahead after your divorce.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.