Is there such a thing as a 'good' divorce?

Date published: 01 December 2021

Next week is 'Good Divorce Week'.

The aim is to kick start a national conversation about how parents can embrace a child-focused approach to separation.

It’s always an emotional decision to separate or divorce, whether by mutual agreement or otherwise, but as part of Good Divorce Week 2021 family solicitors are trying to guide clients around parenting through separation.

Pearson family solicitor, Karen Kenyon says children are the most important consideration: "When you have children they come first and divorce or separation is only the first step in the parents’ future co-parenting journey.  

"With the benefit of experience family lawyers know that it is often difficult for couples to realise which aspects of co-parenting they will agree on or those that will lead to conflict."

This year, Resolution - a group of family justice professionals whose aim is to resolve issues in a constructive way - have produced a 'Parenting After Parting' guide to steer couples through the process in the best way possible for children.

Karen Kenyon says Covid may have complicated the family dynamic.  "Family relationships have come under immense pressure since the start of the pandemic and the children of parents who separate can find the experience one of the most challenging and impactful of their lives so we always ask our clients to put the interests of their children first."

There are many touchpoints along the way once a couple decides to split and getting good legal advice from the outset is important.  Building up a relationship and rapport with your legal adviser can help.

Even if the split is amicable, couples can come to disagree along the way about things such as medical and therapeutic care, parenting, religion or culture, education, holidays, living and contact arrangements and their child’s social activities.

"As legal professionals we have been through this process many times, but for our clients it is new territory and we understand it can be daunting and scary,” says Karen.  "From the start, a good solicitor will talk their client through the steps involved, the realistic expectations, parental responsibility, the financial implications of divorce and any legal action which is necessary.”

Issues surrounding separation can be resolved in a variety of ways including:

Direct Discussion – you will need legal advice for an agreement turned into a court order or parenting plan
Solicitor Negotiation
Collaborative Law
The Court Process

Pearson Solicitors offers the guide for free to local families who are divorcing or separating.  The Parenting Through Separation Guide is written by family professionals and advises parents of how to put their children first during a separation.  

The guide is launched during Good Divorce Week which runs from 29 Nov - 3 Dec, run by national family justice organisation Resolution.

Some of the tips when discussing divorce with children include:

  • Try to have a joint conversation when all of your children are present. Keep this age appropriate.
  • Plan a series of conversations, including different follow up conversations, if your children are different ages. Be mindful that their reactions will depend on their age, developmental stage and their individual personality.
  • Reassure your children that it is okay to feel sad or scared and showing emotion is good. They can always talk to either of you and ask questions.
  • Remember you are a role model and your children are watching how you manage this situation. If they see that you are still their parents, making decisions together about them, then they will cope better.

Juliet Harvey, national chair of Resolution, added:  "I’m really pleased to have the support of Pearson’s family solicitors during Good Divorce Week. Resolution members like them do really important work in their community to help families separate in a constructive and amicable way.

"The more families who know about and use the free Parenting Through Separation Guide, the better equipped they will be to navigate the challenges divorce and separation brings, particularly when it comes to putting children first.”

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