LEGAL EAGLE: Help to smooth out marital splits in Good Divorce Week

To mark ‘Good Divorce Week’, Legal experts in Family law and Divorce matters at Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors explain how to make the divorce process a much more straightforward one.

Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 12:00 am
“The festive period can cause additional pressure, both financially and emotionally, and exacerbate any pre-existing marital issues.”

The start of December marks the run-up to Christmas, but it marks the start of Resolution’s ‘Good Divorce Week’.

The average divorce rate across England and Wales is now 33.3%, with the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic attributing to a reported 25% increase compared to rates calculated in 2019. Christmas meanwhile has its effect. Official statistics show that there were 455 online divorce applications submitted to HM Courts & Tribunals Service between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day in 2019, with 13 of those completing the application on Christmas Day.

As members of Resolution, members of Tilly Bailey & Irvine Solicitors in Hartlepool explain that a non-confrontational approach to family law issues will produce better outcomes for separating families and their children.

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“Divorce and separation can often be a turbulent time for couples, particularly where there are children involved”, says TBI Solicitor Jessica Inman. “As such, we believe that it is imperative that conflict and animosity are minimised as far as possible. Over the course of the pandemic, family relationships have come under immense pressure owing to government imposed lockdowns, financial worries, job security concerns, home-schooling difficulties and otherwise, all naturally creating a catalyst for separation.

“Whilst separation can be difficult for adults, it is vital that parents bear in mind the impact that separation will have on any children of the family. It is, therefore, crucial that parents learn to work together to support their children thus to co-parent effectively in future. This is understandably easier said than done as emotions are usually heightened leading up to and immediately following separation but parents should remember that all decisions, regardless of their own feelings, should be child-focused”.

To assist recently separated parents, Resolution have issued a Parenting Through Separation Guide, which can be accessed online. This will hopefully assist parents in navigating through the numerous issues that accompany divorce and separation. This includes helpful pointers on key issues such as when to tell the children about separation and how to minimise conflict.

“The most important part in determining arrangements for the children post-separation is effective communication. Both parents must communicate with one another and be able to voice any concerns they may have in respect of the children. To do so, parents should avoid inflammatory language where possible so as to avoid adding fuel to the metaphorical fire. Alongside this, forward planning for the children is also crucial. This will allow the children to benefit from stability and also avoids one parent being disappointed should the other parent have already made plans for the children. With this in mind, the festive season will soon be upon us and, if arrangements have not already been agreed, separated parents should be considering how the Christmas period should be split. The earlier arrangements can be made the less scope for upset.

“If an agreement in respect of child arrangements cannot be reached, the next step would be mediation in the hope that this can be used constructively to resolve the outstanding points of dispute. If mediation is unsuccessful, an application to court for a child arrangements order can then be made for judicial intervention to resolve children matters this way. Court proceedings should be avoided where possible but if parents are unable to reach an agreement direct, unfortunately this is sometimes the only way such matters can be resolved. Even so, court proceedings should not be automatically viewed as contentious and parents should continue to attempt to work together and minimise as much disruption for the children as possible.”

If you are a separated parent and require any further guidance on filing for divorce and child arrangements, please contact our Private Family Law experts in Teesside on 0333 444 4422 or make an online enquiry for free here.