All too often when a relationship breaks down and a couple start to contemplate divorce fingers start pointing and blame gets batted around. The law in fact encourages this approach, since under English law there have to be grounds for a divorce, most of which assume one party is at fault.
But divorce doesn’t have to be about blame and pointing fingers. In fact if you can come to an amicable agreement over the ending of the relationship you can save time, money and emotional strain.
Let’s examine briefly the grounds which can be used to obtain a divorce under English law.
- Desertion, where one of the parties has deserted the other for two years or more is rarely used.
- Separation, either with consent after 2 years or without consent after 5 years is again used only in a limited number of circumstances as most people don’t want to wait to end their relationship.
- Adultery, although the one most often cited in the media in high profile cases is the ground that can cause the most acrimony and upset and is one we advice clients to avoid if possible.
- Unreasonable behaviour is the most common ground cited in divorce cases today.
What many people don’t realise is that the examples of unreasonable behaviour stated on the divorce petition do not have to be inflammatory, designed to enrage or upset the other party, nor do they necessarily have to be very ‘serious’. We have seen petitions accepted by the courts which include relatively mild allegations such as devoting too much time to a career, having no common interests or pursuing a separate social life. Using mild allegations may make it easier to agree the contents of the petition with your spouse and get closer to the ‘no fault’ approach.
Of course the divorce itself is only one part of the process and it’s often agreeing a financial settlement and arrangements for the children which cause most difficulty. But if you can start the process amicably you are far more likely to come to mutual agreement over these issues too.
Upsetting though it is, a divorce doesn’t need to be all about fault and blame. A team approach between client and lawyer with a combined, reasonable attitude and approach can often save many months of upset and stress.
An experienced divorce and family lawyer will advise you on the merits of taking a conciliatory approach in your particular case. Most lawyers today look for a constructive resolution to family disputes, adapt a non-confrontational style and will consider the best interests of the whole family. Make sure you find a divorce lawyer who is able to take the right approach to your case
No fault divorces are not yet available in law but with the right lawyer and right attitude, you can create your own.
Need further advice?
Call Woolley & Co on 0800 3213832 or book a free initial telephone appointment with one of our lawyers.