Rupinder Rai, Legal Director at Rayden Solicitors, has provided advice on how to avoid a messy divorce and remain civil in difficult circumstances.
1. Take legal advice early
Knowing your rights helps you make decisions. Don't just rely on friends' advice- the courts deal with all cases individually; no two cases are treated the same, just as no two families' situations are the same.
2. Prioritise the children
They should not have to choose between their parents. Consider their needs in every discussion with your Ex, and don’t be short-sighted about longer term relationships with your children.
3. Avoid social media and group chats
Remove yourself temporarily – use the extra time to focus on yourself and the children.
4. Think before you act
Angry responses often spiral towards a complete impasse. If you receive a call or message - listen/read it - then leave it. Rarely is an immediate response necessary.
Take the time to think it through, prepare a draft response, and consider how an independent person would respond - assume it will be read by a judge. Then only send it if you are sure that is what you want.
5. Consider alternative dispute resolution
Court proceedings should be the last resort, the system is logged with cases taking up to 18 months to reach a final hearing.
There are other ways people can try to resolve matters; such as mediation - with a qualified mediator. If mediation works you will be told to take legal advice on the terms of an agreement, so it’s helpful to have a solicitor acting in the background.
6. Get emotional support for you and the children
Relationship breakdown, the separation of finances and reduction of income can all cause anxiety, resulting in clients’ inability to make decisions and consequently giving unclear, inconsistent instructions.
Counselling can assist with the grieving process, teaching you skills to move on and clear instructions for your lawyers.