Alistair – My Divorce Story

Alistair and his partner had lived together for almost ten years before they entered into a civil partnership. The civil partnership was dissolved after four years. He and his partner didn’t have children.

What I wish I had known:

I should have focussed on my needs and wants from the outset and set that tone at the start. Not all solicitors are created equal, I assumed that the goal was to resolve the issues amicably. It was clear that this was not the case and (it felt like) the other side’s legal representative wanted blood. I lost sight that I was divorcing my partner and felt like I was divorcing his solicitor.

The low point:

The constant demands on disclosure and the other side’s review of bank statements etc. It was borderline invasive and really demoralising to be questioned on expenditure with the constant implication that I was being dishonest, indulgent or hiding money (and then paying for the privilege). I got over this with responses initially laden with ridicule, sarcasm and inappropriate language. I then redrafted them for the formal response – borderline childish but it got me through the process.

The certainty I did the right thing:

When I got on the stand it felt very cathartic to go head to head with the other sides representative. In a perverse way, I enjoyed being on the stand (after the initial shock) – it is very easy to tell the truth and the other side was ill prepared and wasn’t ready for my in depth knowledge on my affairs.  When the final ruling came through I was happy to be vindicated and the judge clearly sided with honesty and common sense.

The one thing I would do differently:

I assume not getting married in the first place or getting a pre-nup is off the table but I would probably have gone through mediation rather than litigation. I was worried that as the primary breadwinner, that it could be misconstrued that I would somehow have a dominant hand. I never thought it would actually go to court or it would take two years of my life.