In this blog, the first in a series of reflections on divorce, one of our former clients considers his experience of dissolving his civil partnership. Alistair (not his real name) 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. was the low point for me. 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 side’s 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.
For some time the team at Family Law in Partnership has wanted to create a community of support between our clients. What we have been able to do, through the generosity of a number of our clients, is to bring together their experiences of going through a divorce or separation in our website, www.divorcediaries.co.uk. The names used in the diaries are fictitious but the divorce stories they tell are entirely real.
If you need advice or assistance about your divorce or separation or ending your civil partnership, please speak to one of our specialist family lawyers:
T: 020 7420 5000