How to make the split as smooth as possible?

by Paul Whitaker on September 26, 2013

Divorce is never going to be an easy experience for the parties or their children. It can be costly, time-consuming and complicated, not to mention emotionally exhaustive. The most desirable outcome would be for a divorce to be as friendly as possible. The key to this is to take a step back and view the process as a necessity of the situation you are in, rather than as an opportunity to go to war.

Keeping it friendly
If at all possible, you and your spouse should take the decision to retain full control over your divorce instead of handing over control to a third party. The worst outcome would be to allow a judge to make all the important decisions for you. Is a judge the best person to decide how to divide your property or determine what is best for your children? If there are points of disagreement, your divorce lawyers will be able to put you in touch with a mediator. A divorce mediator will facilitate communication between the two of you with a view to reaching an agreement on difficult issues.

Remember that this process is all about compromise. Whilst it is likely that family lawyers will be needed, it is important to try to see things from your partner’s point of view and decide upon your own priorities and the things that you would be willing to forgo. This will prevent the whole process from being taken out of your hands and played out in a legal environment. It is also essential to have a clear understanding of any debts that you have and who will be responsible for them when you go your separate ways. The division of debts is just as important as the division of assets.


Children cannot help but be affected by their parents’ divorce. However, using mediation to keep the process out of the courts is critical to preserving their emotional well-being.

The first step is to tell your children what is going to happen. The likelihood is that older children will remember this conversation for the rest of their lives. Telling them together and with a plan as to what is going to happen could make the conversation notably easier. Throughout the process, communication will be the key. Being able to talk about what is happening to both parents as and when they need to is really helpful to children. You should never be negative about your spouse to your child or let your disagreements be played out in front of them.

Looking after yourself

Whilst it is easy to focus on the process and the effect on your family, it is equally important to make sure that you look after yourself. Ensure that you eat properly, get plenty of rest and make time for yourself each week to relieve stress. There is no shame in asking for help or seeing your GP for a referral to a counsellor if you feel that your mental health is suffering as a result of the traumatic experience you are going through.


Paul Whitaker
I am a partner and head of the firm’s dispute resolution department. I specialise in commercial litigation, property and employment disputes. I have 25 years litigation experience and have acted in a wide variety of commercial disputes, many of them complex and for high stakes. My clients want no-nonsense advice and robust support in helping them resolve their dispute and reach a successful outcome. They expect me, as a partner, to lead the team from the front and be involved in all aspects of the work. I always try to find the best commercial solution by the shortest route possible, which in many cases means reaching a settlement rather than simply pursuing the matter through the courts. I am an experienced negotiator and accredited commercial mediator as well as workplace mediator and member of the Solent & Wessex Mediation Group.

Previous post:

Next post: