The amicable divorce

Samantha Jago

Samantha Jago


Amber Matheson

Amber Matheson


A common misconception of divorce is that it is guaranteed to be a stressful and traumatising process - something to be feared! You will be glad to hear that it does not have to be the case, as has recently been illustrated by NFL star Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
After 13 years of marriage, the couple made the decision to divorce, which they have described as ‘a very amicable situation’.  So, what does that mean, and how can an ‘amicable’ divorce be achieved?
There are many options available to divorcing couples who would like to work together to resolve matters, including jointly applying for divorce and discussing how to resolve finances between themselves. They can also seek the assistance of an impartial third party, being a ‘mediator’ to assist with those discussions. Many couples also engage a solicitor to assist in helping with the discussions. The key to a harmonious divorce is a couple working together and accessing whatever professional support is necessary to aid a constructive dialogue. Not only is this much less stressful, but the process is faster, and legal costs are minimised considerably.
According to Samantha Jago, Family Law Partner at DMH Stallard, a ‘good’ divorce requires compromise from both sides; “Take a view of what is really important to you; there is need for proportionality and a pragmatic approach”.*
In addition to this, the following tips should be taken into account when aiming for a smooth divorce:
  1. Don’t assign blame – It is easy to place the blame on your ex-spouse when reflecting on the breakdown of your marriage. However, this is a counterproductive task as you risk creating tension. The avoidance of blame is aided by the new ‘No Fault Divorce’, which you can read about in more detail.*
  2. Have fair expectations – It’s likely your partner will have different ideas as to the division of finances, maintenance payments, and arrangements for children. So, try to think about what you actually ‘need’, as opposed to what you ‘want’
  3. Keep communication open – You do not have to be best friends with your ex-spouse but allowing open communication aids the process and helps to preserve an amicable relationship after the divorce is finalised. This is particularly important where children are involved.
Finally, whilst in an ideal world every divorce would be harmonious, this is, unfortunately, not always the case. Consequently, Samantha Jago suggests that you seek legal advice, even if you believe you could manage an amicable divorce yourself.  This allows for a certain level of legal protection should things go wrong but also gives you confidence that the discussions you are having with your ex are along the right lines.
Amber Matheson, Family Law Solicitor at DMH Stallard, adds to this by saying ‘Although all divorcing couples should strive for an amicable divorce, one spouse can often be at a disadvantage and be considered the “weaker” party financially. In such instances, you are best placed to take legal advice to ensure that your future needs are adequately met’.
If you’d like professional advice for an amicable divorce, or any other area of family law, please contact the Family Law team at DMH Stallard.

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