What is an amicable divorce?
Until recently the concept of amicable divorce was not the norm, and “conscious uncoupling” was usually reserved for the rich and famous. In fact, under the old adversarial divorce system, a person wishing to divorce their spouse had to establish one of five “facts” to show the marriage had broken down irretrievably with 3 of those facts being fault-based: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. The old divorce system effectively required couples to be the opposite of amicable and apportion fault or blame to obtain a divorce. This caused unnecessary conflict, bitterness, and distress.
This all changed in April 2022 with the introduction of the new no fault divorce system. Under the new system, couples can now get divorced without one person having to lay blame on the other. This allows couples to focus on moving forward rather than dwell on past recriminations and finger pointing.
Whilst the law on how to end a marriage or civil partnership has now radically changed and become less adversarial and more amicable, the law relating to how assets should be dealt with on divorce is outdated and has remained largely unchanged for the last 50 years. The main problem with the current law is that there is no formula or obvious outcome for dividing assets on divorce. This leaves Judges with a great deal of discretion about how to deal with assets on divorce, based on several factors and what they consider is “fair”.
As fairness is a subjective concept with one Judge placing weight on one factor, whilst another Judge will place greater weigh on a different factor, there is no one right answer about the financial outcome of divorce. This results in a huge element of uncertainty for those getting divorced.
Under the current law, spouses who cannot agree on how assets should be dealt with following divorce or dissolution can expect to spend an average of £14,500 each in legal representation to resolve financial matters. This can increase to £30,000 each if a contested case ends up in Court and a Judge decides. In contrast our service which helps couples with their divorce, financial negotiations, and the preparation of a Consent Order once an agreed settlement is reached is priced at £2900 for the couple.
With the current cost of living crisis hitting families all over the United Kingdom so hard, many couples who are ending their relationship simply cannot afford a protracted and expensive battle over finances following their relationship breakdown.
So, how can I save time and money?
The solution is to work together and decide to divorce amicably. The amicable UK Divorce law is where a couple agrees to work with one legal professional to end their relationship without acrimony or resentment, but in an environment of mutual respect and dignity. Unlike a traditional law firm, we work with a couple to resolve matters without resorting to a legal battle and litigation. Rather than trying to score points or hurt one another, couples (with our help) agree to compromise and work toward the best result for them and their family.
What are the benefits of an amicable divorce?
The benefits compared to litigation and competing Solicitors (who both think their understanding of the law is the right answer), or a lengthy court battle where a Judge decides what he or she thinks is fair, include:
- It is far more cost effective – You are not each instructing your own lawyers to battle against each other. Instead, you are using one legal professional to help you find solutions you can both live with – meaning only one cost and vastly reduced legal fees.
- An amicable divorce is less stressful. You decide to resolve your differences productively and without conflict.
- There is less uncertainty, and you are in control of your future. You do not have two sets of Solicitors or a Judge deciding YOUR future. With our help you decide a legal outcome that is fair for the both of you and your family.
- An amicable divorce is far quicker and flexible than Court proceedings which can often take many years due to the strict Court timetable.
- An Amicable divorce is easier on children – Amicable divorces are less stressful on everyone, including the children. Why? Because they don’t have to watch their parents fight or worry about the divorce proceedings. Furthermore, couples who work through their divorce amicably are also more likely to successfully co-parent without arguments or other issues because they start off their co-parenting agreement on the right foot.
How can I divorce amicably?
An amicable divorce is by no means an easy feat and requires a lot of commitment and cooperation. If you feel an amicable divorce may be the right solution for you, here is our checklist setting out the steps to an amicable divorce:
Put the children first.
Put the needs of the children first, and work together. This means ensuring that they have a stable home life and are not being used as pawns in the divorce process.
Recognise where each of you parent most effectively and work together to use those strengths to raise and care for your children.
Be pleasant and polite and commit to calm and respectful communication.
You can make a conscious effort to refrain from entering a battle. Conflict can be greatly reduced by simply being pleasant and polite to each other.
Establish new communication patterns and learn to reduce reactivity to triggering issues. Be open to other ways of looking at and doing things and try not to fall into familiar behavioural patterns.
Listen to your spouse’s/partner’s concerns. Whilst you don’t have to agree with your spouse’s point of view, listening to them can help you figure out what is important to him or her. You are more likely to see your spouse act with the same good faith toward you if your spouse feels that he or she is being heard.
Agree to take a mental or physical time-out when conversations become too intense.
Try to avoid ultimatums as they rarely work. They often lead to the parties involved becoming more rigid and alienated and usually ends up in litigation.
The last thing you want is a long Court battle which is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds. It requires you to be aware of what you would be prepared to give up to achieve your objective.
Compromise requires you look at the bigger picture and take the emotion out of negotiations.
When you are arguing about detail, a good question to ask yourself is:
Will it make any difference in 5 years’ time if I “win” this particular point?
If the answer is “no” – let it go.
It is helpful to always start each negotiation with an issue that you both agree on. It may be a small matter such as who gets an item of furniture or piece of art, or a large financial issue such as who will live in the house. Either way, your goals are the same and this will build trust and open communication for the more difficult choices and topics ahead.
Set clear goals and objectives, and don’t rush.
By having clear and realistic goals and objectives, negotiations to reach settlement will be easier. Most people never take the time to decide what truly matters to them in their divorce. By setting goals you can decide what really matters to you, and what is not so important.
Identify what matters most to you in your divorce as soon as possible. Then keep your eye on the goal. Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.
If you want to divorce amicably, one of the most important things you can do is avoid rushing your partner through the process. The more you rush the other person, the slower the process is likely to be, so try your best to be understanding and patient.
Some decisions have real time limits. Most do not. Accordingly, take the time you need to make proper decisions, and allow your partner that time as well.
The more important the decision, the more you need to consider it carefully.
There is no point going through the process and agreeing to things if you are not being honest to yourself, and the other parties involved. Be honest and candid when providing financial disclosure and negotiating. If you are not honest, it opens the doors for potential problems in the future.
Avoid the blame game and do not take it personally.
Divorce is an emotional process. But if you want to get through it as amicably and swiftly as possible, it’s best to avoid playing the blame game. Instead, try to approach divorce as a shared problem and a life change that you have decided to navigate together.
Be careful who you listen to.
Getting divorce advice from your friends, family, or your neighbour who got divorce two years ago, is not a good idea. None of these people (although well-meaning) are likely to be objective divorce experts. Rely on your friends and family for emotional support while you go through your divorce, but don’t rely on them to give you qualified divorce advice.
Instead take proper professional advice. Making good decisions requires getting good advice from the right people. Think about speaking to Accountants and Financial Advisers, all of whom have a role to play.
Other popular questions and answers:
What is the opposite of an amicable divorce?
The opposite is to have a legal battle that may cost you both many thousands of £’s, and where you will have little control in the outcome as a Judge will decide your future.
What is the cheapest way of getting a divorce?
Unless you want to spend the equivalent of a house deposit on a legal battle, by far the cheapest way of getting a divorce is by divorcing amicably and trying to agree as much as possible. We are able to guide, advise and assist you throughout the negotiation process so you end up with a settlement you can both live with.
Is amicable a good thing?
Divorcing amicably has many benefits. It is less stressful and you decide to resolve your differences productively and without conflict. It is also quicker, and better for your children.
What is an amicable agreement?
An amicable agreement is an agreement that you both reach that is fair for the both of you and your family.
How can I be amicable with my ex?
The most important things are the ability to compromise Divorce Consent Order.