Divorce does not have to be the contentious nightmare friends, family and particularly the press make it out to be. Following some (or all) of the below suggestions can help avoid acrimony, save you money and maintain relationships for the sake of any children:

Do:

  • Find a solicitor you are comfortable with. Divorce can often be a long and emotional road and it is therefore essential that you have a good relationship with your lawyer. Trust is essential here
  • Try to keep things amicable between yourself and your spouse. This will help on many levels, the most important being future relationships (essential if there are children) and savings in legal fees
  • Try to agree the contents of the divorce petition with your spouse before it is issued. This can help avoid a knee-jerk reaction to the contents when it is received by your spouse and also the potential animosity thereafter
  • Delay your application for decree absolute until financial matters between you and your spouse have been resolved and embodied into a court order. Delaying the decree absolute application can preserve any benefit you may be entitled to pending resolution of financial matters. Such benefit could be widow’s pension or death in service benefit
  • Keep your decree absolute in a safe place. It is the only formal evidence of your divorce you will receive and you may need to produce it from time to time in the future. In particular you will need to produce this if you wish to remarry
  • Revisit any existing will or make a will if you do not have one once decree absolute is pronounced. The terms of an existing will can be affected by the grant of a decree absolute. It is advisable for everybody to have a will
  • Do obtain a court order providing for a clean break, in full or in part, in respect of financial matters when divorcing. Not doing this will leave claims for income, pension and capital live and your former spouse could then pursue them at a later date. A mere verbal or written agreement between you will not protect you against any future claims. For example, if you win the lottery and financial claims have not been dealt with or dismissed, your former spouse could try and make a claim against your windfall

Don’t:

  • Let your solicitors make decisions for you. The job of your solicitor is to fully advise you about the options available to you. It is then for you to consider the options and advice given and then provide your solicitor with instructions on how you wish to proceed. This is your divorce, not your solicitor’s divorce
  • Insist on naming the third party in the case of adultery. Whilst this may give you a feeling of satisfaction, it will also increase your costs, cause delay to the proceedings and create animosity which is then likely to impact on the ability to have constructive discussions about money and children.
  • Expect to receive repayment of all costs in relation to the divorce if your claim for costs made within the divorce petition is successful. Such costs represent a contribution and a reduction is often negotiated
  • Overthink things. Not everybody is untruthful, untrustworthy and has a hidden pot of money