In Blog

Breaking Up Without Tearing Each Other Apart

This week (28th November to 1st December) is good divorce week. Here are some ideas that might help you break up without tearing each other apart…

  • Should you get a post-nup (a contract drawn up after a marriage)? This may be a way of strengthening a marriage by eliminating trust worries.
  • Should you go to Court? 95% of separating couples head for the Family Court but Court proceedings are lengthy and can be harrowing.  Most Courts are poorly maintained with hot airless waiting rooms or no waiting rooms at all. There are no facilities and you wait for hours on end until the tension becomes unbearable.  If you need someone else to make a decision consider Family Arbitration which offers you the chance of getting on with the case and certainly in more salubrious surroundings.
  • Should you hire a mediator? Mediation is not going to work for couples who are already at daggers drawn.  It will work for couples who are still able to listen to each other and have some empathy or understanding of where the other person is coming from.  Reaching an agreement in mediation relies on the qualities and determination of the couple (and the mediator).  If it does work then it will mean a quicker and more effective resolution which can be tailor made to fit the needs of the family.  Court orders are very blunt instruments and also don’t take feelings into consideration.
  • How do you avoid arguing over money? After you split immediately lay some ground rules making sure there is provision for the mortgage and the household bills.   Communication and honesty are the key.  Don’t try and hide your assets as you will be required in whatever process you choose to be full and frank about your finances.  Honesty really is the best policy.
  • How do you stop your children being hurt? After a split  parents have to put more effort into the love they have for their children than into the animosity they may have for each other.  Child arrangements should be agreed immediately.   Parents should remember that all the evidences says that children don’t give a monkey about how many nights they stay over with each parent.  What they care about is there not being any more arguments.
  • How do you move on from a painful split?  Divorce is known to be the second most traumatic life experience after the death of a loved one.  Make sure you have time to grieve your relationship and also to re connect with yourself after a break up: privacy and time alone or away from your ex and children is a big part of this.   Maybe concentrate on a break up bucket list – all the things that you can do now that you couldn’t do during your marriage.


Divorce by Numbers

  • 64% of children whose families divorced in 2013 were under 11 years old
  • 34% of marriage end by their 20th anniversary
  • 114,720 divorces took place in England and Wales in 2013
  • 40-44 – the number of divorce in 2013 was highest among men and women aged 40-44
  • 65% of women initiate divorce
  • 13 divorces per hour in 2012
  • £337m – the Uk’s biggest divorce settlement.


Sarah Mellish, of Harney & Wells in Brighton, is a qualified family law arbitrator with the IFLA (Institute of Family Law Arbitrators).