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Can you really treat a divorce like a business deal?

A couple of weeks ago, I caught ITV's breakfast show Daybreak whilst I was getting ready for work. Presenters Kate Garraway and Matt Barbet were interviewing Dr Edward Farber, an American child psychologist who believes that warring couples getting divorced must put their children first.

Nothing new there then I thought as this is something that I, as a family lawyer in Liverpool, always advocate to my clients who have children.

But his other suggestion is that parents need to treat each other like business partners - they don't have to be friends but do need to work together to produce the best children.

How right he is particularly as nearly half of all babies will see their parents separate before they reach the age of 16.

In Dr Farber's recent book, Raising the Kid You Love With the Ex You Hate, he advises parents to treat their divorce like a business arrangement.

As a solicitor in Liverpool, my objective is always to help my clients get through their divorce as quickly and stress free as possible. Here are some of the questions I am often asked:

My husband and I are getting divorced, what should I do?

The decision to separate from your spouse is never an easy one. You will be going through a wealth of emotions due to the enormity of the situation you find yourself in.

On top of this, you will have to deal with a number of issues as well as have to make decisions about your future and if you have children, their future too.

As a family lawyer in Liverpool, I do my utmost to alleviate this whirlwind of emotions and help clients find the quickest, least acrimonious and most economical way of getting divorced.

How do I make it pain free for my children?

Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to do this - whilst you will have been aware for some time of your situation, when you tell your children it will come as a big shock, even if they are aware that you and your spouse haven't been getting on.

You both will need to decide how to continue to provide them with support and time. Things you will need to think about are access arrangements, child care, school, seeing grandparents and family, birthdays and religious festivals.

Children can often feel a sense of loyalty to one parent and that's why it is so important to make them the priority during a divorce.

The best thing to do is to work as constructively as you can with your spouse. Try not to argue in front of them and always speak positively about the other parent.

What about our home?

When getting divorced, you need to put aside your emotions and look at practical solutions that will work for everyone.

It may be that one of you will be able to stay in the marital home or perhaps you will have to sell up and both move. Whatever happens, you will need to decide who will live where and if you have children, is it near enough for either you or your spouse to see them.

What about our finances?

Running two homes means that you will be living on less money and you will of course as part of a divorce settlement, have to agree to financial support for the children as well as deciding who will pay what for essential bills.

If you have savings or debts, these will need to be dealt with and you will both need to set up separate bank accounts.

If your spouse has a pension, you may be entitled as part of the divorce settlement to a share, which is known as 'pension sharing.'

This means that the recipient spouse receives a percentage of the other person's pension which is transferred into a pension in their own name which they can draw on in retirement.

Sometimes it can make more sense for one person to keep a larger pension than their spouse, with the spouse receiving a larger share of the other assets to compensate. This is known as 'offsetting.'

Are divorce rates increasing?

The good new is that latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that divorce is at its lowest rate for 29 years as fewer marriages are ending this way.

However, the number of over 60s in England and Wales who are getting divorced is rising partly due to the aging population - there are more people over this age than ever before.

Other factors include the increasing financial independence of women and the fact there is no longer a stigma attached to getting divorced.

But getting divorced can be one of the most stressful times in someone's life and can impact on mental, emotional and physical well-being. As a Liverpool solicitor, I do my upmost to give support and advice to my clients to help them through what is a very difficult time.

What advice can you give for an amicable divorce? What could be done to make it easier for the children?