Divorce can be a high pressure emotional rollercoaster. From divvying up assets to determining child custody arrangements, there’s a lot to contend with during the process and as such, it’s easy to make mistakes. We’ve outlined some of the most common below:
Get the right advice.
Not all divorce advice should be treated equally. People mean well and believe that offering you advice on how to navigate your divorce is a way to support you. Your lawyer is the best source for advice for legal issues in the same way a Collaboratively trained counsellor is the best support for helping you process the emotional issues and facilitate improved communication. Equally a financial advisor is the best source of advice for finance issues.
When hiring a Lawyer make sure that they understand your situation and don’t view it as an opportunity to hire a combative professional who will to punish your spouse – this is likely to lead to an increase in the number of hours spent on your case and therefore an increase in costs leading to a reduction in settlement. Try to take the emotion out of your divorce, and treat your case as a business arrangement.
Supporting Yourselves and Supporting Your Children
When a couple with children are separating one of the biggest fears is how this will impact on their children. When going through all the complexities of practical and emotional changes and challenges a separation entails, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed and thus doubt your capacity to support your children through the changes. It is crucial that you take the time to take care of yourself and seek the support you need so that you can support your children. You are the expert and best source of support for your children. Consensus Collaboration Scotland’s specially trained Family Consultants bring a wealth of experience, empathy and understanding to working with mums and dads in this challenging situation.
We fully understand how difficult it can be to navigate your own emotions and lifestyle changes through separation and divorce and remain open to your children’s emotional response to the change in their lives. Our Family Consultants offer you the space to explore your concerns in a confidential, non-judgemental and supportive series of on-to-one and/or joint sessions advising on the beat way to support yourselves and your children and wider family.
Understand your financial position.
Our ‘Money matters in your divorce’ goes into more detail (http://www.consensus-scotland.com/latest-news/newsarea_single/money-matters-in-your-divorce), but during separation and divorce, it’s easy to make financial mistakes, either by letting emotions cloud your decision making, receiving bad advice from a non-professional, or even ignorance.
Often, one spouse may have more involvement with and knowledge of the family finances, but once divorce is on the table it’s important for both partners to understand exactly what assets you own and what debts you have. Make a list and think about what your financial goals might be in the short, medium and long terms. It’s also important to budget for the process by understanding what money you have coming in and what costs you may incur. And finally, there are many options for dividing property, other assets and debts so you should consider getting advice from a financial expert.
Considering an alternative to litigation.
Each divorce situation will be unique to the individuals involved, but there are alternative ways to separate and divorce without “getting legal”.
If you and your spouse can work together to reach a fair settlement on most or all of the issues in your divorce (e.g. how you support each other to co-parent as a separated couple meeting your children’s needs and property division), mediation might be an option. It can be a non-adversarial process where couples meet together for several sessions with a neutral mediator to work out the terms of their divorce.
Another approach worth consideration if the separation is amicable is the collaborative one. It’s an approach to divorce and separation that involves calm, respectful discussions over a series of meetings that work through the various issues including making arrangements for your children, identifying and valuing the assets that will be shared and ensuring you are able to meet your living expenses while the process takes place and in the longer term too.
It’s a process that’s non-confrontational and less adversarial, with no court battle, and more focused on positive solutions. It’s a process that allows your children to see and benefit from their parents respectfully negotiating an ending of their couple relationship and a thoughtful discussion around supporting each other and their children in their new family arrangement.
At Consensus Collaboration Scotland, our team of multi-disciplinary experts (Lawyers, Financial Specialists and Family Consultants) offer separating couples this non- confrontational way of agreeing
the legal and practical arrangements for their separation and divorce.
Within a Collaborative Divorce Process the support for the couple and family is prioritised and built- in, with the couple, lawyers, family consultants and financial specialists working together respectfully through all the inherent complexities towards agreements which meet the whole family’s needs.
If you’re considering an alternative to a court based divorce, contact a local collaborative professional for advice and information.