Coming to the decision that you wish to divorce your spouse can be very daunting. Emotions run high and there is anxiety of the future and what lies ahead. Whilst the process may seem overwhelming, understanding how to start divorce proceedings and the key points you should consider can help you navigate this difficult time.
If you have decided to divorce and your spouse does not agree, this can understandably be a difficult situation. Disagreeing about divorce is not unusual. Therefore, you should communicate your views with your spouse clearly and honestly (save for in instances when you believe your spouse may begin to issue proceedings abroad. If this is the case, you should seek expert legal advice as quickly as possible). As difficult as it may be, clear communication is vital as it can help keep things as amicable as possible once legal proceedings commence.
If you have children, think about what is best for them and ensure they remain at the centre. It is important to shield children (especially young children) from any proceedings and speak to your spouse on how you can work together to minimise the impact on them.
Going through a divorce takes an emotional toll on all parties. It is therefore important to have a support network you can rely on. Whilst family lawyers do and are accustomed to assisting clients through difficult and emotionally gruelling periods, seeking additional support from a therapist or a counsellor can be very helpful. They will be able to help you work through the emotional impact of divorce proceedings, provide practical advice on how to transition from a couple into individuals and help you to develop a successful co-parenting relationship where there are children involved.
Considering alternative methods of dispute resolution (for example mediation, arbitration and collaborative law, or a hybrid of these options) can offer a faster, more cost-effective and more private way to reach an agreement with your spouse. Please be aware though that there may be instances where court proceedings are the only option.
Anyone considering making an application to the court must attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM) – unless there is an exceptional circumstance – with an independent qualified mediator.
Finally, seeking advice from a specialist family solicitor will ensure your legal position is protected and secure. The solicitor will talk you through your options, costs, timeframes and possible outcomes.
Lawrence Stephens’ experienced Family team can provide advice on all aspects of your divorce while prioritising the best interests of you and your family. We also are able to provide mediation services if you consider this to be an option for your situation.
If you have a family matter you would like to discuss, please contact a member of our team below.