Getting separated or divorced? Few people like the idea of litigation but perhaps there is a large pot of money involved, or disputed arrangements for children?

The temptation is to head for the ‘best’ lawyer, which might mean seeking out the senior family partner in a prestigious law firm. It goes without saying that your wife will feel she needs to do the same; parity is everything.

But does it have to be like this? Do high net worth couples have to go nuclear when getting divorced? What follows are 10 top tips for getting divorced without joining the Arms Race.

  1. Ask around your friends for recommendations; who has had a ‘good’ divorce experience? Get the name of the firm.
  2. Have your solicitors lifted up the phone to introduce themselves to each other at the outset of your matter? Ask them.
  3. If you have children, is your lawyer keeping them at the forefront of the case?
  4. Do your lawyers adopt a ‘problem-solving’ tone or do they communicate using snotty one-line letters? (Always remember a snotty one-line letter often receives an abrupt one-liner in reply and so your case builds up and explodes like a mushroom cloud into the stratosphere).
  5. Avoid statements like ‘I’ll see you in court’; court is a very uncertain process, you will have little say and less control on the day, and you will rarely get what you really want.
  6. Court can badly damage co-parenting relationships
  7. Has your solicitor suggested Collaborative divorce or mediation? Have they talked to you about the support a Family Consultant can provide?
  8. What about mediation? Have you had the process explained in detail to you? How about phoning a mediator to have a chat? Perhaps a couple of mediation meetings could help you with one element of your case- say devising a shared residence plan for your children. Good mediators will work in tandem with your lawyers, keeping them in the loop as agreement progresses.
  9. Are you looking after yourself (and your children) through your divorce? Would coaching/counselling/meditation/yoga/ a therapeutic talking group for your kids, help?
  10. Has your solicitor talked to you about the shape of your life when you get through divorce? Everything in life changes and moves on, and endings when ‘reframed’ can be beautiful, authentic new beginnings.

So avoid a solicitor with their finger on the red button, going nuclear is not the answer; there are better ways to end your relationship.