Amicable Separations – do they really exist?

By Alicia Lucas, Lawyer

The short answer is – yes! Each separation is different and, as a result, the idea of an “amicable separation” can be different for everyone. Some examples of an amicable separation are:

“We have separated, we are still talking and want to know the next steps.”

In this scenario one party will often contact us to say that they have separated from their partner/spouse/significant other, they want to resolve things quickly, but they don’t really know what they may be entitled to, or what the process is to move forward.  We can assist to formalise a strategy to assist the parties to resolve their relationship breakdown in a cost effective and amicable manner.

Ultimately the resolution of any dispute depends not only on the work we do and the advice we provide, but also the willingness of both parties to resolve any dispute.

“We have reached an agreement and want to formalise our Agreement.”

In this scenario one party will often contact us to say that they have separated and already agreed on how they are going to divide their assets and liabilities (known as a property settlement) and/or how they will share care of their children. In this situation the parties are generally seeking advice on how they can formalise the agreement they have reached, and the options available to them.

“We are amicable and have reached an agreement. We don’t want or need any lawyers involved.”

The desire to avoid lawyers often arises from the belief that lawyers are only needed if there is conflict, or an agreement cannot be reached. There can also be concerns that lawyers will cause conflict due to the aggressive and adversarial nature of the legal system.

While we cannot speak for all lawyers, at Griffiths Parry Lawyers our aim is to assist parties to formalise any agreement they may have reached as quickly and as amicably as possible. We cannot deny that aggressive solicitors exist (and in some situations this approach may be warranted). All we can say is this is not the approach we use as it does not benefit our clients.

The issue of not needing a lawyer is problematic. For dividing assets and property, if it is not properly formalised, there can be serious consequences for each of the parties in the future – for example, one of the parties could change their mind and ask for more money in a few years time.  It is for this reason that we strongly suggest parties obtain advice from a solicitor to formalise any agreement they have reached to safeguard their future.

“What if we aren’t amicable and we just don’t seem to agree?”

If you have found yourself on the other end of the spectrum, and you are less than amicable, please contact us so we can assist you to develop a strategy to progress your matter and make suggestions as to ways through which you may be able to diffuse tension and work towards the final resolution of your dispute.

We hope that most of our clients can separate in an amicable way as there are no winners when it comes to relationship breakdowns.  If any of the above scenario’s sounds like you, contact our office today for a no obligation free discussion so we can develop a strategy with you.

This article is for the purposes of summarising general information only and is not considered legal advice and should not be relied up on as a substitute for professional advice.
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