In this blog, we set out how to get divorced amicably if Christmas has been the straw that’s broken the camel’s back.
My own divorce became a reality at Christmas, five years ago, so I sympathise with anyone facing the prospect of divorce in the New Year. I spent the holidays googling how to get divorced. There’s never a ‘good’ time but the contrast to other people’s family togetherness at this time of year feels especially hard.
Christmas and New Year is a time when emotions are running high. Couples are potentially spending a lot more time together than usual. If you are struggling to get on and your normal work and routines aren’t distracting you, it’s not surprising that many people will realise how unhappy they feel and consider separating. If your relationship is over this guide will help you decide what to do next and how to get divorced.
1. Before you start
Make sure it’s over
All relationships have their issues but some behaviour is more problematic than others. Research* shows there are four communication issues that make a relationship more likely to end in divorce: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. When all four are active in a relationship, it’s probably too late to save the relationship. When defensiveness and stonewalling are present, your relationship has a chance to survive with outside help such as couples counselling. However, to change, criticism and contempt, is much harder and requires individual counselling for the person who engages in them. If you need help with counselling, you can find out more here.
Prepare before you tell your partner its over
This is an important conversation and may set the tone for the type of divorce you will have. Plan it and prepare for it. Make time when the kids aren’t around (create the situation if necessary) and when you won’t be interrupted or distracted. This is conversation to tell your partner clearly you have reached the end of the line. Convey one message and one message only. ‘It’s over, I’m sorry this is so hurtful, but I’m decided and I won’t change my mind’. It’s best not to defend yourself against criticism levelled or rise to any bait. This is the time for maximum self-control. Make it clear you hope to discuss things and make amicable arrangements with everybody’s best interests at heart, but that now is not the time. If you need help with this conversation speak to one of our divorce coaches here.
2. How to get divorced
There are three things you need to sort you when you get divorced;
Make arrangements for your children
The first and most important thing to agree is where your children will live, how they will see both of you, who will pay for what and how you will raise them. This is called a Parenting Plan. You can complete a parenting plan by downloading our app here
Make arrangements about your finances
Next, agree what will happen to your home, where you will live in future and also, what money, assets and debts you have to divide. This is called a Financial Disclosure.
File the legal paperwork
File your divorce petition. For this you will need to decide which of the five grounds for divorce apply to you
- Unreasonable Behaviour
- Separation after two years -. if you both agree
- Separation after five years – if only one of you agrees,
Next, apply for a Decree Nisi and finally, apply for a Decree Absolute. If you want to make your agreements legally binding you will also need to file a document called a consent order with your Decree Nisi application. You can find out more here.
3. amicable recommends
Don’t call a lawyer
Lawyers operate in our adversarial judicial system and this means they can only represent one of you. Lawyers are duty bound to promote your interests above those of your partner… this rarely ends amicably as there is a winner and a loser. Speaking to a lawyer can, therefore, create conflict and this can be costly…
Do some basic research
There is lots of information about how to get divorced but it can be hard to know which websites you can trust. You can find everything you need to know about separating and getting divorced on the amicable webpages. We write blogs in plain English and we cover topics to help you through each part of your divorce. Start with divorce basics, our guide to how to get divorced.
Don’t let costs get out of hand
It can cost an awful lot of money to divorce, especially if you have shared finances or children. The average spend on legal fees in the UK is £8,000. Doing things acrimoniously adds huge expense. amicable offers a fixed-price full divorce service for £1500 per person. This is half the cost of a typical mediation and less than a third of the cost of going to a lawyer. We also offer emotional support and guidance around how to do the best for your kids as part of the package.
Find a way to divorce that’s right for you and your family
Chances are you will be able to fill in and file your own divorce paperwork directly with the court if you have no shared finances and no children, Couples with finances to split or children look at alternative ways of divorcing such as mediation. However, mediation can end with no agreement. A better alternative may be arbitration. amicable offers fixed-price arbitration for £1250 per person – ten times cheaper than going to court and months faster. You can find out more about arbitration here.
Master your emotional journey
Emotions make the complicated process of divorce and separation more difficult. Our expert divorce coaches are always on hand to coach you through tricky decisions that may leave you feeling sad or frustrated. Mastering your emotions is a crucial skill and leaves you much better placed to co-parent successfully.
If you’re headed for separation in January 2017, take comfort, you are not alone. ‘Divorce Day’ – the first Monday after the Christmas and New Year period is looming and many couples file for divorce after the festive holiday. We are here to help and amicable offers free divorce advice. Register for a free chat with one of our friendly expert divorce coaches by clicking here.