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What makes a 'Good Divorce'?

When you hear the word “divorce” your first thoughts may be very pessimistic. The word has such negative connotations and immediately leads to thoughts of anger, upset and uncertainty. Divorce is often sensationalised in the press which is also unhelpful and simply feeds further negativity and misconceptions about the process.  You may think that there is absolutely no way that going through a divorce can be “good”. You might ask “What is a good divorce? How is this possible?” 

As Resolution shines a light on reducing conflict for Good Divorce Week, Natalie Wiles considers how this can be achieved and what practical steps you can take to keep things amicable.


The emotional process of divorce

Often divorces can become very difficult as, understandably, emotions can cause people to be reactive and make impulsive comments or decisions. It can feel as though your whole world has been turned upside down and that your future is full of uncertainty. You may also feel that you have lost control of very key aspects of your life such as where you may live, your lifestyle and important issues relating to the children.

 It is important to understand that having emotional reactions is completely normal. It is equally as important to take a step back when you feel those emotions coming to the forefront when you are having discussions with your former partner. An angry reaction inevitably leads to an angry response from your spouse which often leads to further hurt and upset. It is very easy for productive conversations to become arguments.

Taking a step back

It is also very easy to become fixated on minor points during a separation such as who keeps the possessions or who has behaved more wrongly towards the other. It is much better not to focus on who has done what to the other and think about your future.  Consider how these things will affect you in the future. Often once the big things are sorted, the little things sort themselves out.

When you’re not on the same page.

If you have made the decision to end the marriage it may have come as a surprise to your spouse. You will each be at different stages and it can be wise to delay commencing proceedings immediately to allow your spouse time to come to terms with your decision. This can assist by reducing the emotions involved and allowing you both time to consider what you each wish for your future.

Another great way of trying to resolve disputes is by going to mediation. Mediation is a fantastic way of getting to grips with the issues and trying to resolve them in an amicable and non-confrontational way.

Looking after the children

If there are children involved it is important to remember that it is going to be a very unsettling and upsetting time for them. It is vital that children are shielded from any dispute between their parents. It is helpful if you can refer to your former spouse positively when the children are around as this will provide reassurance and keep them shielded from adult issues.


In summary, I believe that a “good divorce” has the following elements:

  • You have each taken time to reflect upon the situation.
  • You are able to communicate effectively despite the difficult circumstances.
  • Each of you listen to the other’s wishes.
  • Each of you are willing to compromise.
  • You can each think about the big picture and not worry about the small things.
  • You are both committed to resolving any dispute that arises as a result of the separation. 
  • If there are children involved that you are both committed to keeping as much stability as possible for them and are mindful that your former partner is still a parent and an important part of your child’s life.


Getting outside help

It can also be helpful to appoint a specialist to help you through the divorce process. Everything feels very daunting at the outset and getting information can help to relieve anxiety and help to show the pathway to resolution.

An advisor can also provide an objective view of the situation at a time when you may be feeling vulnerable or unsure about what to do. A specialist will be able to help you to piece together how everything works and what the practical impact may be upon you and the family.  People can think that appointing a lawyer is an aggressive step. This does not have to be the case.

At Langleys we are all committed to resolving family disputes amicably. As members of Resolution we adopt and promote their principles with the aim of achieving a sensible resolution to any dispute.

Key contact

Natalie Wiles

Senior Paralegal

Call 01522 888555