A new report on Netmums suggests separating parents may be in denial about the impact their divorce may have on the children.
Netmums surveyed 1000 parents and 100 children separately - and the results are alarming:-
- Only 14% of children felt they could express their feelings of upset to their parents.
- Almost 1/3 of under 18s described themselves as ‘devastated’ by their parents’ divorce.
- 1 in 5 children drank and 1 in 9 self-harmed to cope, but only 1 in 100 parents knew this.
How to reduce the impact of your break-up on the family…
More than 230,000 people in the UK get divorced each year and many other unmarried couples separate.
For most it is a difficult, stressful time, with emotions running high, shared lives needing to be disengaged and assets divided. Things then become doubly complicated where children are involved.
How you approach the process can make a significant difference to the impact it will have on the children of the relationship and indeed on everyone involved.
Every situation is different, but here are some ways in which you and your family could get through separation and divorce.
1. Get professional advice early on
There will be friends, relatives and colleagues queuing up to give you well-meaning advice, but this is no substitute for speaking to a family law specialist.
A Lawyer can give you an unbiased view of your situation, set out the options available to you and of course give you accurate legal information.
2. Decide what’s important
This is a useful mantra to hold onto during and after your divorce when things get heated.
Do you love your children more than you dislike or disapprove of each other?
Most of our clients answer ‘yes’ and this often opens the way to reaching an agreement that keeps the family and its children firmly in the spotlight.
3. Could you work together on your divorce?
This is not always possible, for instance where violence is a factor, but if you feel you could work with your partner to reach a settlement, there is plenty of help at hand.
This includes a new free scheme, ‘Changing Lives’. Funded by the DWP, it teaches and supports couples in discussing family matters constructively, including separation and the future care of children.
There are also mediation and arbitration services to help you reach a family friendly agreement, as well as the Collaborative Law approach (see below).
These approaches can often take the worst heat out of separating and are considerably less stressful and costly than taking the traditional court route.
4. Choose a Resolution Solicitor
Around 50% of UK firms. including Verisona Law, are currently signed up to ‘Resolution First for Family Law’.
As accredited members we subscribe to a code of practice that requires us to deal collaboratively with other firms and with the divorce process.
Cold (and expensive) legal letters are replaced by face to face sessions where you and your former partner, with your solicitors present, can discuss on a settlement.
This enables you to discuss each other’s viewpoints and crucially to hold natural conversations about the future of the family, its children and their needs.
5. Get the money side settled
‘Who gets what’ is often the biggest sticking point in the divorce process and can become a barrier to deciding what is best for the children.
Deciding where the children will live and with whom can often help clarify the issues. A marriage may end, but the needs of the family and its children carry on.
This is how the courts approach things if required to impose a settlement, so it makes sense to take the same approach and reach a balanced agreement.
Again, mediation, arbitration and collaborative law are all there to help you complete this delicate process.
6. Know when to compromise
Putting the family first doesn’t mean ignoring your own interests. Your solicitor will still make sure the agreement you reach is fair.
It is important though to choose your battles. Why waste hundreds on solicitors’ letters fighting over an item that neither you nor your partner really wants?
By the same token, coming to the process determined to crush the opposition is likely to be self-defeating, both financially and in the ill will you build up for the future.
7. What are you doing for Xmas?
It may not feel like it now, but one day you and your former partner might be friends again. You have a shared interest in the children that is going to last a lifetime.
By working together during your divorce you open up the possibility of celebrating events such as Xmas and birthdays in the way children want: in the same room.
Maybe not straightaway, but certainly in the many years to come.
Claire Webb is a member of the Verisona Law Family Law team and is a qualified mediator and arbitrator. She has recently co-authored a short guide to the alternatives to court when divorcing, in collaboration with Portsmouth County Court.
We have set out below a full list of the services our Family Department can provide whatever your circumstances. If you do however have a query which does not relate to any matter detailed below, please do contact our Family team who will endeavour to assist you.
Divorce or Civil Partnership Dissolution
Whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent within proceedings or whether you are simply contemplating the same we can provide guidance throughout the entire process. We can assist with:
- Drafting of documents
- Negotiations with the other party
- Correspondence with third parties such as the Court
- Advice face to face, by telephone, by email.
Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Whether you are planning to marry or indeed have now married and wish to formalise arrangements in the event of separation we can advise and assist with the following:
- Drafting agreements
- Negotiating settlement
- Corresponding with all parties
Whether you are married or living together and in the event you decide to go your separate ways we can assist in formally documenting terms of separation. We can assist in the following ways:
- Drafting Separation Agreements whether in contemplation of divorce or whether to simply record the split of a cohabiting couple
- Negotiations with third parties
- Providing you with advice whether face to face, by telephone or by email.
Arbitration is an alternative to resolving disputes through the Court. At Verisona Law we can assist in a number of ways either by assisting you through the Arbitration or by referring matters to our in house Arbitrator. We offer competitive arbitration rates and a member of our team will be happy to assist with any queries in this regard. Please see our current articles on Arbitration for more details about the process.
If you have chosen not to marry but wish to live together you may wish to formalise the arrangements and details for doing so. We can assist in the following:
- Drafting cohabitation agreements/living together agreements
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising you in person, by telephone or email as appropriate.
Divorce where Business are involved
We have extensive experience in dealing with breakdown of marriage where one or both parties are owners of businesses or indeed it may be the family business. We have experience in providing you with advice and signposting for business valuations and will ensure that the business as an asset is dealt with appropriately within any proceedings.
In addition to being able to provide specialised advice in relation to Public Sector pensions our team at Verisona Law has vast knowledge concerning all pension arrangements and can ensure that they are dealt with appropriately within any divorce proceedings. Please seek advice from a member of our team.
We are able to advise on all aspects of Parental Responsibility including:
- Agreements / Orders
- Exercising your Parental Responsibility rights and duties where appropriate
- Arising out of Parental Responsibility we can advise on applications for a Specific Issue Order to the Court if appropriate.
If you have any queries concerning Parental Responsibility and its impact on you or indeed whether you have Parental Responsibility for your children, please seek advice from a member of our team.
Assisting through Mediation
Whilst we do direct a number of matters through Mediation, this does not mean that you cannot have legal advice throughout the process. We can advise and assist you through the Mediation process and arrange thereafter to draw up formally any agreement reached be this by way of a Consent Order in divorce proceedings or simply to record in an open document the agreement you have reached at Mediation concerning the subject of your dispute.
Whether you are married or otherwise, or indeed simply have an interest in a property owned by another we can provide you with advice and assistance including;
- Applications to the Court
- Negotiations with all parties
- Advising and assisting you face to face, by telephone or by email.
This is an alternative way to resolve family disputes without the involvement of the Court. The Collaborative process requires both parties to have a Collaborative Lawyer and endeavours to resolve any disputes by way of four way meetings. We at Verisona Law can assist you through the Collaborative process. If this is an avenue of resolving dispute that you would be interested in, please contact a member of our team.
We at Verisona Law can provide you with advice and guidance concerning any disputes you may have relating to your child. This may be with whom the child lives, with whom the child spends time with, a specific issue concerning a child or steps that you wish to take to prevent something happening (Prohibited Steps Order). We can also advise you in relation to maintenance disputes with a third party guidance with dealing with the Child Maintenance Service. If you have a query with any issue concerning your child please contact a member of our team.
Change of Name
Please contact a member of our team if you are interested in changing your first or surname to discuss the drafting of a Change of Name Deed. We offer a fixed price for a Change of Name and we can provide you with further information upon request.
I went to Verisona Law because I had been unsatisfied with two previous attempts with other firms. Verisona gave that real sense of service, made.me feel like a client they were happy to assist at all times and ultimately gave the BEST advice and guidance. Dont waste money; go to Verisona FIRST!