Potential ways to reduce conflict in divorce - Palmers Solicitors

Potential ways to reduce conflict in divorce

Potential ways to reduce conflict in divorce

Divorce does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ battle. One party’s gain is not necessarily the other’s loss. Nor does divorce need to be an all-out war or a fight.

Yet, all too often the process can turn negative, with conflict and revenge at the forefront of proceedings.

This is understandable as there is often a single event that catalyses the decision to divorce, especially if one party or the other is left feeling aggrieved.

Add to this the way the divorce process is structured and the language it uses, and it becomes ever clearer how couples that were once madly in love are now pitted against each other.

If you are labelled as being at fault for the divorce, your instincts, much like anyone else’s will be to defend yourself.

While ‘no-fault’ divorce will take effect next spring and hopefully help reduce the aggressive metaphors that surround the process, there are things you can do now to improve the chances of divorcing in a way that leads to better outcomes for all involved.

Here, Surjit Verdi, a Director with Palmers Solicitors and Head of our Family Law team, provides several suggestions: 

Resist the urge to punish or seek revenge 

Even if by any objective standard you have been wronged or treated badly by the other party, it is generally counterproductive to try and use the divorce process to punish or seek revenge.

All it is likely to achieve is more conflict and that serves no one in the long term, even if you feel that you have ‘won’ in the short term.

Whether there is any psychological benefit from catharsis is a point of contention, in any case, and there is some suggestion it just leads to a snowballing of emotion.

Think of divorce as an opportunity for a fresh start for everyone 

Thinking about divorce in this way sets a different tone for proceedings that can make an outcome that is fair to everyone much more likely.

In contrast to seeking to punish – which is essentially a negative approach – this way of framing divorce is much more positive and so likely to result in better outcomes for all involved.

An important benefit of this approach is that it accepts the marriage is over and does not involve trying to rekindle the relationship.

But it does require both parties to treat each other with dignity and respect.

Don’t just bow to the other party’s demands 

This might be a surprising or counterintuitive tip for minimising conflict in divorce, but it is an important one.

It is all too easy, especially if you feel guilty about what you might have done or failed to do in your marriage, to simply accept everything the other party asks for.

Similarly, you might simply want the whole process over and done with.

But, to minimise conflict, the divorce and ensuing financial settlement needs to be fair, and not just to the other party. In fact, it is a contradiction in terms for a divorce settlement to be fair to only one party.

If you come out of the process feeling aggrieved, that will simply be a recipe for continued conflict in the future, especially if you have children with your former spouse and so have to maintain some level of contact. 

For further information on all aspects of family law including advice on separation and divorce, please get in touch with us.