How 2 Divorce

How 2 Divorce

What can you tell us about your new book How2Divorce?

How2divorce The Handbook is a self-help model which if used in conjunction with the How2divorce website and the How2divorce social media support, Facebook, Twitter etc. will enable you to carry out your own separation. Everything you need is in one place and if you use the support provided you will be able to deal with all aspects of divorce and separation, including court proceedings yourself.

What are the steps in the three step plan?

Step 1 - Think things through and make some decisions - This is the first section of the book and is a workbook. There are a series of questions that gets you to identify your legal problems. There is then a second series of questions to get you to identify what your possible solutions are. It’s split down for you to do in 7 days to make it easier and give you time to think.

Step 2 - educate yourself and get legal advice

Once you know what your legal and practical problems are you have a plan to work to. Now it’s important to find out as much information as you can and educate yourself on the law in relation to those areas. The book has a large number of legal guides and the website also had blogs and useful links to other websites about related issues such as debt and housing to help you. I am just in the process of recording video guides to put on the how2divorce YouTube channel. You can also ask questions on Facebook and twitter if you get stuck that i will answer for you. What’s important is that you don’t give up and use How2divorce to help support you through your separation. If you think your situation is complicated get some legal advice here. There is a section in the book for you to make a list of questions to ask a solicitor.

Step 3 - Putting your plan into action - Once you have identified your problems, looked at the various solutions and decided what course of action you are going to take you then need to put that into action. There are various ways of doing this. For example you could attend mediation, write to your ex-spouse if communication has broken down or simply sit down and have a conversation. If you are married or you cannot agree you may need to issue court proceedings. The How2divorce “Smartforms” are simple to use. You complete the information on the website and the information is put into the form for you. It takes 5 minutes to complete a divorce petition for example. The main thing for me was to ensure that all the tools you need to get from start to finish are provided so that you don’t give up.

How can divorce affect children?

Children are more resilient that you may think. The main thing for them is that if possible their usual routine is not disturbed. So if you they can remain living in the same house and attend the same school you will be surprised at how well they cope. If you have to move house try and time this to happen in the school holidays and always sit down with them and tell them what’s happening - but don’t involve them in any discussions about money or your divorce as this will upset them.

How does divorce differ in a civil partnership?

The dissolution of a civil partnership is the same as a divorce except that when sorting out the finances the civil partner cannot make any claim against the other partner’s pension. The same law applies in relation to any children as this is covered by the Children Act 1989 as children are - Children of the Family in Law.

Please tell us about your professional background.

I didn’t go to university until I was 27, after my first divorce. I qualified as a solicitor in 1996 at the age of 33. I think i was born a family lawyer and love my work and so have always felt privileged that i get paid for doing what I love to do. After nearly 20 years in the profession i never get bored. I qualified as a mediator when it was first introduced into this country and was one of the Pioneers which was very exciting and hard work as no-one had heard of it or wanted to do it. At first I had to mediate for free. Eventually i trained 6 other work colleagues as mediators and by 2001 had a large mediation practice. It’s interesting that now everyone wants to become a mediator and I’ve moved on and developed self-help model of How2divorce which has come out of my vast legal and mediation knowledge and experience. I am also currently completing my academic career by carrying out research for a PhD at The University of York looking at what people are going to do without a solicitor to assist them upon divorce.

Why has there been such a taboo around divorce?

In the past it was not socially acceptable to get a divorce. The law was also very different in that the Husband had rights over the children so if you were a mother and left a marriage you could not take your children with you. Also, financially a woman could not support herself and the children as women did not receive equal pay until the 1070’s. Things have changed dramatically in the last 30 years and there is no stigma attached to divorce anymore. The current legal changes that are being considered are the concept of “shared parenting” which is still being debated.

What would you say to religious people who believe that divorce is not an option?

If someone has very strong beliefs about divorce then they must follow them. It is not for anyone to tell someone else how to live their life. However, you can live apart and have a legal separation, this effectively gets you to the stage of Decree Nisi of divorce but you never get your decree absolute. You can obtain a legally binding court order to sort out the finances and children arrangements. I have done many of these over the years particularly for those of the Roman Catholic faith.

What is normal day like in your world?

Extremely busy, I usually get up at 5.30am and check my emails - and do some urgent work (for example i am writing this at 6.10am on a Monday morning). I leave for work at 7.30am doing the school run on the way. Once I get in the office I don’t stop all day eating lunch at my desk as i work - I usually leave work at around 5.20pm and go and pick my daughter up from school. I get home at about 6.30pm, make the evening meal and then eventually sit down at about 9.00pm. Sometimes i can go a whole week without watching TV. At weekend I always have Saturday at “please yourself day!” where I do no work at all. Sunday’s is optional work wise but i usually find myself doing something such as writing an article, or preparing a presentation etc.

What is next for you?

I want How2divorce to become the place where people look first when they separate before doing anything else and spend any money on solicitors so I am currently working on writing scripts for videos to start an extensive YouTube library so that everything you need is there in a format you can easily use. I am also working on my next book which will help people representing themselves at court. This should be published by the end of the year. After that - Who knows?

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