Family Law

What is a “bad divorce”? Things to avoid and look out for

December 01, 2020
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From the 30 November to 4 December 2020, Resolution is running its annual “Good Divorce Week” campaign. In conjunction with their campaign, Resolution have produced a “tool kit” for professionals working in family law to consider when dealing with a divorcing couple to enable the process to be dealt with in a way that reduces conflict.

We know that a “good divorce” is one that facilitates constructive communication between the couple and their lawyers; working together to help things run smoothly and minimising the disruption that inevitably follows a relationship breakdown.

In contrast, our Family team outline what makes a ‘bad divorce’, and some of the things to avoid and look out for during your divorce proceedings:

Dwelling on the bad things that your ex has done and wanting to punish them. 

There are no winners when it comes to a divorce, it’s about finding a way forward that both of you can live with so that you can move on.

Involving the children in the divorce. 

It is important to try and keep them away from any acrimony as this can have a long-term negative impact on them.

Poor communication with the other party or their lawyers. 

This is not constructive and can often exacerbate the situation leading to delay, stress and expense.

Not having key information at hand. 

For example, insufficient disclosure of assets and liabilities, and therefore not being able to have an informed view about any agreement that might be reached.

Taking an unreasonable stance. 

Arguing “they left me and they are not getting a penny” or “I am the one who has worked hard during the marriage while they have remained at home and it’s not fair they should get anything” is unhelpful and unfair. The starting point for division of matrimonial assets in every divorce is 50:50.  

Attempting to hide matrimonial assets. 

Not disclosing assets such as property, capital, shares, a bonus or an inheritance could potentially render any agreement reached, null and void.

Blatantly squandering capital in an attempt to deplete the capital available for division. 

Whilst this may feel good at the time, it could lead to an injunction or an “add back” argument in the other spouse’s favour.

Your lawyer should be encouraging a ‘good divorce’ and minimising any of the above negative and unhelpful behaviour. Our lawyers are all members of Resolution and pride ourselves on offering a professional, supportive and effective service. For further information, please get in touch with a member of our Family team. 


This article was written by Kerry Graham, Head of Family; Rebecca Aston-Jones, Senior Associate; and Julian McCarthy, Senior Associate.

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What is a “bad divorce”? Things to avoid and look out for

Kerry Graham

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