It’s been nearly six months since Resolution’s 2018 ‘Good Divorce Week’, a campaign by the family law organisation which, amongst other things, aimed at raising awareness about how parents could minimise the impact of conflict during divorce, on their children.
While no-one would argue against anything that aims to put children’s needs at the very front and centre of divorce, can there really be such a thing as a ‘good’ divorce? We take a closer look…
‘Good’ = conflict management
Emotions can run high following the breakdown of any relationship. The end of a marriage can bring with it feelings of anxiety, fear and sadness. Needless to say, this can result in strained conversations between spouses, to say the least.
Of course, there are those who have very amicable break ups, where divorce is nothing more than a process to enable them to say their goodbyes and move on with their lives. This is a ‘good’ divorce, in the sense that conflict is almost (possibly completely) non-existent. Indeed, this is one of the things Resolution is campaigning for during their Good Divorce Week and beyond - the reduction of conflict during divorce.
‘Good’ does not necessarily mean no conflict at all
However, while in an ideal world there would be no conflict between divorcing couples full stop, this is not at all realistic. What is important for a ‘good’ divorce is that even when a couple aren’t on friendly terms, any hostility between them can be kept under control, so that they can work together to reach an agreement about issues such as child arrangements and finances.
It’s worth noting here that a ‘good’ divorce needs good solicitors, who are committed to a non-confrontational way of working, whether that be through solicitor-to-solicitor negotiation or Collaborative Law. Court should usually be viewed as a last option, as asking a judge to decide a financial settlement can be costly, time consuming and can often serve to heighten conflict levels.
What happens in the divorce process can have far-reaching consequences
Why is a ‘good’ divorce so important? A high-conflict divorce filled with animosity and ill-feeling can have implications well into the future, especially when there are children involved. According to Resolution, research has shown that it’s not the separation or divorce itself that has an impact on children’s well-being, but the conflict that comes from the divorce.
If conflict has been allowed to take over during the divorce process, chances are that the relationship between the two parents will be damaged well into the future, potentially putting more strain on the children’s mental well-being.
So what is a ‘good’ divorce? It’s about keeping conflict to a minimum and even when there is hostility between two spouses, not allowing it to take over. Equally, it’s about putting children’s needs first and working together to try to ensure that this happens.
Divorce will probably never be seen as a ‘good’ thing, but by keeping conflict to a minimum, this can hopefully result in a more positive experience for both spouses and any children involved.
As such, it is highly recommended that you seek independent legal advice from an expert family solicitor experienced in this area, before taking any action.