The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 has revolutionized the UK’s divorce law by allowing couples to end their marriage through no-fault divorce.
What does this mean for couples and families?
This means that couples can now split amicably without having to cite examples of bad behaviour from either side, providing an important shift away from assigning blame and reducing potential conflict.
Every couple’s situation is different, depending on whether you have children, your financial status, length of partnership and earning capacity. All of these factors need to be considered when you are discussing navigating the end of a marriage and rebuilding your life after divorce.
If you can stay out of the divorce court, then it’s going to be less stressful and easier on your bank balance.
Let’s take a look at the 5 divorce options in the UK.
Do It Yourself Online
This is the most economical choice for couples who feel confident in utilising the government website to navigate the process. You can apply together or one of you starts the process. It’s important to bear in mind, that you might still require legal assistance with your financial arrangements.
Online Service Companies
Online divorce service companies are more of a hold your hand and guide you through the online process, as opposed to providing legal advice or emotional support. This can be super helpful to couples who agree, and want to keep costs low, but don’t feel confident they can complete the online application on their own.
A mediator is a neutral, skilled specialist who assists you in reaching agreements with your children and/or your finances. If you and your former spouse can communicate, this choice can work well. I especially recommend you use a coach or therapist with this approach to support you emotionally and mentally.
To take care of the legal side, you will need to engage a solicitor each, this will however still be a cost-effective solution. If you’ve already undergone mediation and come to an agreement, can take separate solicitors to assist with the legal procedure or still file online.
A solicitor will handle the divorce procedure in addition to all related financial and children’s legal matters. It’s a necessity to involve a solicitor when there are concerns about a person relocating or hiding assets, or when there is domestic abuse. If you feel fearful, or intimidated or the other person is controlling or manipulative, then legal protection is vital.
If you have children I recommend using a legal practice that is a member of Resolution.
Going to Court
Naturally, this is the most expensive option!!!
Ideally going to court is the absolute last course of action. Currently, the estimates for legal representation in court are approximately £40k in London and £13k outside of London per person, and in reality, this is a conservative figure. Going to court is undoubtedly the most expensive, contentious, and time-consuming alternative.
Couples need to consider their assets, and how much is at stake by going through this process. The extended conflict between co-parents, has the biggest emotional impact on children of divorce.
WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU?
Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster. Things can easily spiral out of control because everything feels so personal. In my experience of coaching hundreds of individuals over the past eight years, it’s essential that you have good emotional support and the earlier you do this the better.
Get a divorce coach or divorce therapist who is skilled in supporting clients through the divorce process.
Things to consider:
1: What do you both want for the future and for your children’s future? Take the time to consider this before you engage in the legal process.
2: Do your research about the financial cost of divorce. It’s so easy for a couple to be hurt and angry and file and end up in a long financially draining process that could have been avoided.
3: Hurt people lash out. Usually, there is one person who wants the divorce more than the other or who has been thinking about leaving for some time, and this person can unintentionally appear thoughtless or cold. If couples can give each other some space, and practice compassion and kindness then it will help to create a more amicable divorce.
4: Issues in the marriage get repeated in the divorce process. If you had poor communication before, it’s likely to get worse. If you felt unheard or disrespected in your marriage it won’t suddenly improve. It’s important to pick your battles, and not respond when in a state of emotional reaction. Working with a coach, could save you thousands that would be spent in a divorce court.
5: Financially, you will be setting up new homes, and becoming an individual or single parent. If you are feeling angry and upset (all natural and acceptable emotions), it’s easy to get caught up in thinking going to court will give you the validation you want, to punish the other person, or try to get the other person to take responsibility. It doesn’t necessarily work this way. Do your best to take a step back, give yourself time to consider all the options, and work with a divorce coach earlier, so you can get clarity on what you want, work through difficult and painful emotions and plan for your future.
6: Speak with a financial advisor. This goes without saying, you need to understand your financial needs and the needs of your children.