Well it is the holiday season. According to the Financial Times, it’s “Good Divorce Week” (that’s really a thing). In Britain the aim is to help resolve a divorce in a constructive way and minimize the impact on children. The idea may work well here too.
The Long and Winding Road
For most people — especially those going through a separation — a “good divorce” sounds like an oxymoron. Contentious splits are common, and likely to involve a lot of wasted time, anger and money.
But going to court is not the best way to resolve family issues. Mediation and negotiation can be cheaper, quicker and less stressful.
Increasingly, the collaborative process is becoming more widely requested by clients and helps keep costs and anger down.
Why do people in the UK divorce? According to the article, unreasonable behavior is the most common basis for divorce — accounting for 52% of divorce petitions brought by women, and 37% of those by men. However, research says adultery is the most common reason for divorce, followed by couples growing apart, struggling with money issues, abuse and addiction.
Let it Be: Florida Divorce
I’ve written about divorces before, and the “good divorce” too. Historically in Florida, in order to obtain a divorce, one had to prove the existence of legal grounds such as adultery. This often-required additional expenses on behalf of the aggrieved party, only serving to make the divorce process more expensive and cumbersome than it already was.
Florida Statutes actually still provide that these things may be considered under certain circumstances in the award of alimony, equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, and determination of parental responsibility. However, case authority shows little consideration from a legal perspective, relegating them to more of an emotional appeal.
In the years leading up to the enactment of “no-fault” divorce, courts often granted divorces on bases that were easier to prove, the most common being “mental cruelty.”
In Florida, either spouse can file for the dissolution of marriage. You must prove that a marriage exists, one party has been a Florida resident for six months before filing the petition, and the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Back in the UK
Sarah Coles, has been researching the costs of divorce in the UK, and how a good divorce can reduce these. For starters, fighting in court can be expensive, so you need to ask yourself whether you really need to fight over who gets the pots and pans.
Mediation can dramatically cut costs of a divorce. If you have a reasonably good and equal relationship with your ex, this brings you together in a room with a single lawyer to hammer out the details.
To enable this, separating couples need to keep the channels of communication open.
Unsurprisingly, it is the financial settlement that causes huge stress. The article advises couples to decide their priorities when it comes to finances and matters relating to their children.
Remember that a bad credit record can affect you both, and that if you move out of the family home, but are still named on the mortgage, you are still jointly liable for the monthly repayments.
The Financial Times article is here.