How to avoid a difficult divorce

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Getting an amicable divorce can be difficult. Divorces are traumatic experiences and they rarely go exactly to plan. So make sure you don’t fall into one of these common traps.

Here is a guide to avoid 3 divorce pitfalls that might derail you.

1: Agree who will be the petitioner (the one starting the divorce) and who will be the respondent (the person responding to the petition for divorce). It’s often thought that the petitioner is the one who is not at fault and the respondent is the guilty party, so agreeing to be the respondent might not be a bad thing if it’s really important to your ex.

2: Agree on the reasons (grounds) for the divorce before it starts because if there’s a dispute, it’s going to cost time, money and anxiety. For example, if you choose ‘unreasonable behaviour’ as the reason for your divorce, you will have to give the court examples of unreasonable behaviour. Not surprisingly because it involves blaming your ex, this can easily cause arguments, conflict and more difficulties.  It can get in the way of sorting out other more important issues like the children or property and delay the divorce being granted. It really isn’t worth a fight over who is to blame.

The best way is to agree on a statement with your ex so when the petition arrives they’re not surprised and upset by it.

Of course if the reason is something like sexual abuse of your child, which could have long term impacts on child arrangements, you really do need to get legal advice.

3: Do not name the person your husband or wife had sex with (committed adultery with)  in the court petition as what’s called a co-respondent. Naming a co-respondent can infuriate your ex, which can lead to problems agreeing other things like the children or property and financial arrangements. It can also lead to delays because the co-respondent also has to sign papers admitting the adultery and they may not want to cooperate.

Go back to our family law advice hub for more common family law questions and answers.