A Shropshire lawyer is highlighting the need for couples to work together for a mutually beneficial outcome when relationships break down – particularly when it comes to children.
Resolution’s Good Divorce Week runs until Friday, December 3, with the aim of kick-starting the conversation about how parents can embrace a child-focussed approach to separation.
Resolution is an organisation of professional people committed to a code of practice in working with families and individuals to resolve issues in a constructive way.
Lisa Grimmett, associate solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler in Shropshire and a member of Resolution, said: “Resolution members would say divorce or civil partnership dissolution should not be about winners and losers, and that communication is often key to achieving a good divorce.
“If parties can communicate civilly and openly, and engage with each other to identify and resolve issues, then much of the hard work has been done. To obtain a Financial Consent Order parties must each provide a minimum, prescribed level of financial information by way of disclosure.
“By communicating openly and being transparent about their assets including pensions and income, this exercise can be undertaken swiftly and with minimal legal adviser engagement – which all means minimal cost.
“Such open communication also promotes direct discussion about any concerns the parties may have for their children’s welfare and it’s important they never lose sight of the fact that their children are their shared treasures and their welfare should always be of paramount consideration.
“Working towards identified aims and goals also makes for a good divorce. These include areas such as housing needs and agreeing on ground rules for parenting in two separate households. An appreciation of the issues facing each party generates goodwill, builds respect and supports a negotiated outcome.”
Lisa said people striving for a good divorce can also seek help from lawyers trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution methods such as the Collaborative Law approach.
“This promotes direct discussion and decision-making away from court and enables the relevant parties to be central to their process and the outcomes they shape,” she added. “Mediation is another ADR model available to couples and in certain circumstances there is still Legal Aid available for this.
“Avoiding court proceedings has the benefit of saving costs, retaining control, minimising delays and avoiding a significant amount of stress. An agreed financial consent order can be filed at court and granted by a judge without Financial Remedy proceedings being issued. Likewise, an agreed Children Act order.
“A good divorce to a Resolution member is knowing that the parties have reached a solution which is workable and fair to each of them and that they have protected and supported their children so that they can continue to have meaningful and healthy relationships with both parents and their wider families.
“It is also important for the client to appreciate the efforts throughout to keep costs to a minimum, reduce argument and conflict and focus on the negotiation and resolution of the central issues.
“From April, a no-fault divorce system will be unveiled and it is hoped this will help more people strive for a good divorce – but it’s important to remember that it is perfectly possible to achieve a good divorce now and a healthy exit from a damaged relationship, be that civil partnership or marriage.”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org