More than a third of divorces are bitter and acrimonious with each party happy to play dirty to get one over on their ex, new Slater and Gordon research has revealed.
Research in to more than 1,000 divorces found that many fought for things they didn't care about, lied, made false promises and deliberately made the process harder to get back at their partner.
One in ten divorcees even said they tried to turn people against their ex in a bid to make them ‘suffer’.
However, nearly six out of ten admitted that letting their heart rule their head during the divorce process had meant they had made some bad decisions and had some regrets.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers commissioned the research into the experiences of 1,005 divorced people to mark a month since HM Government made changes to Family Law that mean all divorcing couples now need to consider Mediation as a way of settling their divorce without going to Court.
Family Solicitor and Mediator Liz Cowell at Slater and Gordon said, “These findings don't surprise me one bit. We have all dealt with divorce cases where one party has let their anger influence their decisions during a separation.
“Often we find that clients attending meetings won’t even consider being in the same room as their ex but after a few months people calm down and see that an amicable separation and mediation can actually be a good way of resolving divorce issues without spending a lot of money and going to Court.
“The new Family Law legislation means that everyone now has to consider Mediation at the very start of issuing divorce proceedings and hopefully with more and more family lawyers doubling up as mediators it will mean that messy divorces are a very rare occurrence. This can only be a good thing for all involved."
40% of the divorcees in the study said they struggled to be in the same room as their ex and seven out of ten said they couldn’t separate the emotions they felt from the practicalities of resolving financial issues and the residency of their children.
Nearly half admitted they deliberately fought for more than they knew they could fairly expect, with a similar amount saying they were scared their ex would want more than they deserved, so decided to fight dirty from day one.
A third said they demanded more than they thought was fair purely to “get one up” on their ex.
The Slater and Gordon study also showed the lengths people were prepared to go to in their battle for supremacy, with one in seven admitting they actively tried to embarrass their ex in Court and the same number admitting they knowingly ‘played the victim’.
While 31% said they didn’t like being as aggressive as they were during the divorce proceedings but felt they needed to be to secure a decent divorce settlement, and one in eight said they purposely hired an ‘aggressive’ Divorce Lawyer to help them get the most out of the divorce.
36% said they wanted their ex to suffer because they were suffering and most of those polled admitted without the emotion involved their divorce would have been very different.
Highlighting the negative effect it can have on families, one in ten admitted their actions during the divorce caused unnecessary difficulties for their children, and two thirds said the divorce had impacted their child’s wellbeing.
Liz concluded, “We really hope that this change in Family Law makes people consider Mediation as a route to settling their divorce. Mediation won’t be right for everyone but many people getting a divorce are not currently aware that Mediation is an option, so the change can only be a good thing.”
For more information see Lawyer Supported Mediation and our guide book to Marriage, Divorce, Children, Separation & The Legal System, Family Law Made Simple.
Liz Cowell is a Family Law & Divorce Solicitor specialising in complex family financial issues in divorce cases at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester. Liz is also a Deputy District Judge.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer flexible pricing, fixed price divorce and fixed fee Family Law services.
For a free initial consultation call the Family & Divorce Solicitors at Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we will call you.
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