Separating Together

Jo Edwards

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Foreword by Jo Edwards, Immediate Past Chair of Resolution

If you’re going through a relationship breakdown, it can be difficult to know where to turn for support around your separation. The family justice system, at first glance, can seem confusing and overwhelming. But there are ways that you can minimise conflict during your separation and reduce the stress and pain for yourself, your former partner and any children you have.

You don’t have to go to court for your separation or divorce. If you and your former partner want to resolve matters you have many options available to you, including mediation, collaborative practice and arbitration, together with solicitor negotiation. These processes support you and your former partner to work together to decide what happens to your children after your separation, and how money and assets such as the family home will be divided between you. This can be quick and cost effective, giving you more control and enabling you to resolve your dispute and move on with your life.

As a family lawyer, collaborative practitioner and a mediator, I have seen first-hand how powerful and effective non-court dispute resolution processes can be. They help people to achieve fairer outcomes from their separation and long lasting solutions that work for families and children. Minimising conflict during your separation can also reduce the emotional trauma on children.

This guide gives you an overview of the options available to you when you separate, and how you can choose the process that works best for you and your family. It helps you to understand the legal process, how to take the first steps and where to get the support you need.

Resolution’s members - among them solicitors, financial advisers, family consultants and therapists - are committed to helping couples separate in a way that minimises conflict and puts the best interests of their children first. All of our members sign up to a Code of Practice, which commits us to working with clients in a constructive and non-confrontational way. Talking to a Resolution member early in your separation process will help you to understand the options available to you for your separation and how they apply to your personal circumstances.

Divorce and separation are always traumatic, but by choosing the right process you can lessen the pain, for yourself and for your family, and look ahead more quickly to life after divorce.

Jo is the Chair of Resolution and a family lawyer and mediator. She has campaigned for policy changes to improve people's experience of the family justice system and has featured on national TV and radio talking about family law.