What is a “bad divorce”? Things to avoid and look out for

Insights / / Bristol

Please note: this article was first published in November 2020, and updated in November 2022 accordingly.
From the 28 November to 2 December 2022, Resolution is running its annual “Good Divorce Week” campaign. This year the focus is on ending the Family Court crisis and the delays being experienced. This makes it even more important to reach an amicable divorce.

We know that a “good divorce” is one that facilitates constructive communication between the couple and their lawyers; working together to help things run smoothly and minimising the disruption that inevitably follows a relationship breakdown.

In contrast, our Family team outline what makes a ‘bad divorce’, and some of the things to avoid and look out for during your divorce proceedings:

Dwelling on the bad things that your ex has done and wanting to punish them

There are no winners when it comes to a divorce, it’s about finding a way forward that both of you can live with so that you can move on.

Involving the children in the divorce

It is important to try and keep them away from any acrimony as this can have a long-term negative impact on them.

Poor communication with the other party or their lawyers

This is not constructive and can often exacerbate the situation leading to delay, stress and expense.

Not having key information at hand

For example, insufficient disclosure of assets and liabilities, and therefore not being able to have an informed view about any agreement that might be reached.

Taking an unreasonable stance

Arguing “they left me and they are not getting a penny” or “I am the one who has worked hard during the marriage while they have remained at home and it’s not fair they should get anything” is unhelpful and unfair. The starting point for division of matrimonial assets in every divorce is 50:50.  

Attempting to hide matrimonial assets

Not disclosing assets such as property, capital, shares, a bonus or an inheritance could potentially render any agreement reached, null and void.

Blatantly squandering capital in an attempt to deplete the capital available for division

Whilst this may feel good at the time, it could lead to an injunction or an “add back” argument in the other spouse’s favour.

Your lawyer should be encouraging a ‘good divorce’ and minimising any of the above negative and unhelpful behaviour. Our lawyers are all members of Resolution and pride ourselves on offering a professional, supportive and effective service. For further information, please get in touch with a member of our Family team

Kerry Graham

Kerry Graham Partner and Head of Family and Matrimonial

Rashmita Vadher

Rashmita Vadher Managing Associate

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