Thinking About Divorce? - Impact, Expectations and the Collaborative Approach
While the adverse effects of Divorce are multiple, so are the consequences of living in a toxic relationship. If you are in such a situation, it is essential to know how to initiate Divorce to minimise conflict and optimise its outcome for you and your children.
The impact of conflict in Divorce
Many studies have shown that Divorce can impact the mental and physical health of the parties involved. In addition, drastic changes in the family's socioeconomic status affect mental wellness, particularly for a lower-income partner.
Living standards can drop significantly for one or both partners when a marriage ends in a divorce. In addition, the custodial parent can experience more financial hardships due to the child's presence.
Besides the financial difficulties, the trauma of a divorce and the events leading up to it can also increase the risk of mental health disorders. These can range from depression, eating disorders, anxiety, addictive behaviours to aggression.
Children of divorced parents may also pay a 'divorce penalty,' which can include poor academic performance, aggression, behaviour problem, and depression. These outcomes are not only because of the Divorce itself but also due to exposure to marital conflict, poor support systems, and ongoing animosity between their parents.
Knowing what to expect
Letting your emotions rule when divorcing can translate into taking hurried and impractical decisions that are not in your best interests. One of the first things you need to think about when initiating the Divorce is to know:
- The divorce process in Singapore.
- Your current and the possible future financial status.
- Your rights to maintenance and marital assets.
- Child custody, care, and control.
"Before you go ahead with filing for divorce, it is a good idea to obtain a clear picture of your financial status."
One of the key goals of courts is to ensure equitable distribution of assets and debts. It is vital to understand your finances beforehand.
First, determine the assets you both own as a couple, including your financial accounts, home, vehicles inheritances, or other belongings.
Next, make a list of the known debts. The next step is to know what options you have regarding divorce processes in Singapore.
A collaborative divorce
No matter how toxic your marriage may be, note that a long-drawn divorce riddled with conflict and confrontation will increase your stress levels as well as cost you dearly.
One way to streamline the process is to choose a collaborative divorce. Collaborative Divorce is a legal process that allows couples to avoid the costly and lengthy process by agreeing on all matters of Divorce, including:
- Division of marital assets and debts
- Child custody
"Collaborative family practice is a legal process whereby couples can avoid the lengthy and costly process of a contested divorce through negotiation." - Gloria James
Community Justice Centre (CJC), Collaborative Justice Project
Family Justice Courts are promoting therapeutic justice to help divorcing couples come to an amicable divorce, which is a non-adversarial.
This scheme charges an affordable fixed fee for each stage of the divorce process. In addition, the applicant must be of "modest means", defined as living in a Housing Board flat.
Couples who are worried about lawyers' fees can have certainty of cost.
"Under the CJC project, divorcing couples are represented by reputable and experienced divorce practitioners." Gloria James
This scheme will help avoid problems after the Divorce, ensuring that divorcing couples understand the details and implications of their agreed terms.
"Opting for a cheap uncontested divorce without proper advice could end up in you hiring a divorce lawyer to correct your missteps eventually."