What is 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 had to establish one of five “facts” to show the marriage had irretrievably broken down with 3 of those facts being fault-based: adultery, unreasonable behaviour, or desertion. The old divorce system required couples to be the opposite of amicable and apportion fault or blame to obtain a divorce or dissolution. 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 divorce or dissolve their civil partnership without one person having to blame the other. This allows couples to focus on moving forward rather than dwell on past recriminations and finger pointing.
Whilst the law on ending 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less adversarial and more amicable, the law relating to how assets should be dealt with on divorce/dissolution is outdated and has remained largely unchanged for the last 50 years. Under the current law, spouses who cannot agree on how assets should be divided following divorce or dissolution can expect to spend an average of £14,500 each in instructing solicitors to reach a financial settlement. This can increase to £30,000 each if a contested case ends up in Court and a Judge decides.
With the current cost of living crisis hitting families all over the United Kingdom, many couples who are ending their relationship simply cannot afford a lengthy 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 end your relationship amicably. An amicable divorce UK 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 encourage couples to resolve matters without resorting to a legal battle and litigation. With our advice and assistance, we help couples to find compromise and work toward the best result for them and their family.
Divorcing amicably is perfect for couples who wish to end their relationship as cost effectively as possible without conflict. From our experience of dealing with many thousands of divorces, civil partnership, and family cases over 30 years, we have not yet found one client who did not want their case to end as quickly, economically, efficiently, and painlessly as possible. This is an objective shared by most couples who wish to end their relationship.
What type of cases can you use amicable divorce for?
Amicable divorce is not limited to just divorce and can be used if a couple wishes to cohabit, separate, divorce, or dissolve their civil partnership. Each case is tailor made to you. We can help a couple decide the terms of how and when the relationship will start or end, resolve financial matters, and make arrangements for children and pets.
How much does it cost?
All our services are charged on a fixed-fee basis, so you know from the start how much you will pay. Unlike most solicitors, we do not have retainers, 6-minute units, hourly rates, or monthly bills.
As specialists in divorce and family law with backgrounds as Solicitors, Mediators and Collaborative Lawyers we offer couples focused approached solutions and services to meet your objectives.
We offer a free initial call so you can find out more about us and how we work before you commit.
Can you use the same solicitor in an amicable divorce?
Yes, you can use the same divorce specialist for joint legal advice.
Joint divorce legal advice is guidance, support and advice on the law given by one person to a couple who want to end their relationship amicably and without conflict. The advice is given to the couple on a jointly beneficial basis to assist them to find the best way to end their relationship and help resolve children and/or financial matters.
At the Divorce & Family Law Specialists we have backgrounds as Solicitors, Mediators and Collaborative Lawyers with over 30 years of experience in divorce and family law. We will advise you jointly as to how the law applies to your situation, the options available to you, and how we consider a Court is likely to approach your matter. Our aim is to provide you with the tools and information you need to be able to make informed decisions so you can end your relationship as painlessly, and economically as possible.
What are the benefits of an amicable divorce?
The benefits compared to 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.
- It 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.
- It is far quicker and flexible than Court proceedings which can often take many years due to the strict Court timetable.
- It is easier on children – Dealing with matters amicably is less stressful on everyone, including the children. Why? Because they don’t have to watch their parents fight or worry about the divorce proceedings. 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.
When is divorcing amicably not appropriate?
It is not appropriate in the following situations:
- Where there is conflict or significant risk of a conflict arising.
- If there are safeguarding concerns for children.
- Where there are allegations of domestic abuse and/or violence, including psychological harm.
- Where there is an imbalance of power between the parties.
- If one person is not prepared to negotiate.
- Where there are allegations of hidden assets.
- If there is any actual or a perceived concern that either or both parties may be involved in an unlawful activity
- Where the parties cannot agree upon the financial assets and liabilities.
How to have an amicable divorce
An amicable divorce is by no means an easy feat and requires a lot of commitment and cooperation. Here is our amicable divorce checklist on how to end your marriage or civil partnership amicably:
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.
Be prepared to compromise.
The last thing you want is a long Court battle which is likely to cost tens of thousands of pounds. Compromise does not mean giving in or giving up or going without. Compromise means giving up ground to gain ground. Compromise is the ability to identify the outcome you need to be financially independent, as opposed to seeking what you want or think you deserve. 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 frequently asked questions and answers:
How can I be amicable with my ex?
The most important things are being ready to compromise, and wanting to end the relationship without conflict. Compromise means giving up ground to gain ground. Compromise is the ability to identify the outcome you need to be financially independent, as opposed to seeking what you want or think you deserve.
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 agreeing to a joint divorce application, with a commitment to try to agree as much as possible.
Is divorcing amicably a good thing?
Divorcing amicably has many benefits. It costs far less than the each of you instructing your own Solicitors. 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 is reached by mutual consent that is fair for the both of you and your family.
Can you have an amicable dissolution?
The concept of ending your relationship amicably applies equally to marriages and civil partnerships. It is therefore possible to have an amicable dissolution.
Other resources which may be of interest: