And our survey said…

We recently carried out a survey among users of the Dovetail Divorce Solutions website, to find out how we could improve our services for divorcing couples.

We designed the survey questions to also help us discover how much (or how little) divorcing couples know about collaborative divorce, along with other aspects of divorce such as managing finances, the different ‘routes’ to divorce that are available and emotional support during divorce.

As we’re only just emerging from recession, perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the most important thing our respondents said they needed was good financial advice. Interestingly, close behind that the people we surveyed stated the need for emotional support during a divorce.

Over half of the people who filled in our questionnaire said that they didn’t know the meaning of ‘collaborative divorce’ which means we’ve still got work to do! (If you’re stuck on the meaning yourself, please take a look here).

Our first question was designed to find out which aspects of a divorce respondents would consider getting help with and how important they felt that help would be. The results of our survey show that financial advice was considered to be the most important, with 47.92% of respondents considering this aspect of divorce advice to be very important. Following a very close second was the cost of divorce, with 47.47% considering this to be very important. The importance of emotional support during divorce was in third place with 40.40% and support from professional in fourth place with 38.78%. The responses to this question were very close, with respondents clearly feeling that they would benefit from advice and support on their finances and the cost of their divorce.

At Dovetail we offer divorcing couples the advice and financial support of our experienced independent financial adviser whose work covers issues such as the division of complex pension contracts and facilitating open discussions on property and housing needs. We know how important the right financial advice is during divorce and the responses we’ve received to question one of our survey emphasise this further.

We understand just what an emotional and stressful experience divorce can be and our relationship coach offers counselling services, designed to support couples throughout the process. Our relationship coach helps divorcing couples deal with the emotional challenges that often arise during divorce, such as family relationships and adapting to changes in circumstances; her role is to support both parties but we are able to bring in a second relationship coach should this be required.

Question two asked respondents to consider the importance of knowing the total cost of their divorce in advance. 52.53% of respondents considered this to be ‘very important’; with a further 29.9% feeling it is ‘important’. Just over 3% felt it wasn’t important whilst 15.15% hadn’t considered this. These results clearly highlight the importance of our innovative online ‘cost calculator’ as an important tool for divorcing couples to understand their divorce fees from the outset, helping them plan their finances whilst avoiding unpleasant financial surprises once their divorce has been finalised.

Question three asked respondents whether they had looked online to see what options are available to get a divorce. The results of this question quite clearly show that the majority – almost 80% – hadn’t used the internet to research the different options for divorce.

Question four asked respondents who had looked online at different divorce options to consider whether knowing how others had approached divorce had helped them to see a way forward. 57.81% responded by saying that this hadn’t helped whilst 42.19 felt that it had.

Question five asked couples about their understanding of the term collaborative divorce. The results to this question were interesting; 54.17% said that they had never heard the term whilst 25% said that they understood it to mean two parties in constructive engagement outside the courts. 5.21% thought it meant ‘two parties in constructive engagement in the courts’ and 15.63% weren’t sure what it meant. Many couples are clearly unaware that there is a different route divorce – an option that can help them avoid conflict, stressful courtroom appearances whilst staying in control of their future. Evidently there is still a need to publicise the work of specialist collaborative family lawyers, financial advisers and relationship coaches, such as the team here at Dovetail.

Question six asked respondents to indicate whether they had heard about different options for getting a divorce. The options were: litigation (getting divorced in court), mediation, collaboration, arbitration and DIY divorce. Unsurprisingly over 80% of respondents had heard of litigation, with mediation, DIY divorce and arbitration following in second, third and fourth places respectively. Collaboration was the option that respondents had heard about the least with just 31.18% having heard of it. Again this highlights the need to make divorcing couples aware of the different routes to divorce that are available.

There has been much talk of the rise of the ‘quickie’ or DIY divorce in the media and this is something we’ve commented on in our blog pages. Whilst these ‘fast-track’ routes to divorce may work for some couples, for those with property and assets, using these ‘quick’ options can lead to financial problems after the divorce has been finalised. Sound legal advice during divorce is essential; using specialist family lawyers such as Dovetail who have the experience to know when to bring in other professionals such as independent financial advisers, is the best way to keep the cost of divorce to a minimum.

Question seven asked respondents whether they or their partner had considered getting emotional help and support during divorce; just over 80% said that they hadn’t. At Dovetail we again want to stress the importance of the right support during divorce – be it emotional or financial support – as this can greatly reduce the emotional effects of what is often a hugely stressful time. Working with a specialist team such as Dovetail is the best way for couples to amicably resolve their issues, helping them to minimise the emotional and financial impact whilst building a positive future.

Question 8 asked couples if they had considered getting financial help to sort out their finances if they were to split up. At Dovetail we’re well aware of the difficulties that sorting out finances can bring and were unsurprised to see that 72.45% of respondents hadn’t considered this. Our independent financial adviser is highly experienced in helping couples to amicably resolve their mutual finances, guiding them towards outcomes that feel fair to both sides.

Question 9 was also on the theme of finances, asking respondents whether they worried about how they’d cope financially after divorce. The responses to this question were fairly even with 46.88% saying that they were worried, and 53.13% responding by saying no. Sound financial advice is essential both during and after divorce if couples are to ensure that their finances are adequate for the future and into retirement. Many couples’ retirement incomes are vulnerable to the financial effects of divorce, however the right financial advice can help couples come to secure financial agreements that protects both sides.

The final question (no. 10) in our survey asked couples who had responded ‘yes’ to question 9, whether worrying about their finances was stopping them from getting divorced. The majority of respondents – almost 75% said that it wouldn’t.

If you are considering divorce, why not contact us for further advice and information? We are a team of specialist family lawyers and divorce professionals who will all work together to help you through your divorce.

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