Just when you thought that the list of official days couldn’t get any sillier, we have Divorce Day! Not quite a day of celebration, but nonetheless it does highlight that many people want to start the New Year with a resolution that could signify a fresh start away from their marriage, civil partnership or cohabitation arrangements.
But is it really all doom and gloom or should we feel that positive steps can be taken for the benefit of our families and ourselves? There are a few key considerations that will help you to smooth the process:
- Firstly, consider your options as the court process can be expensive, not to mention emotionally draining. You could save time and money by looking into out of court dispute resolutions such as mediation. A Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is now obligatory before making a family court application.
- Take care not to make any moves which you have not thought through. It is not always a good idea to sell your property below market rates just to ensure a speedy sale as you need to ensure your security in a financially uncertain future. This may also not improve relations with your former partner.
- Seek advice from a financial adviser to help work out a plan for your future, making sure you talk about what you are considering in making current life or retirement plans. If you’re planning to split the value of your pension, you may not get an equal amount on retirement. Due to the complex nature of pensions, you should talk to your financial adviser early on to make sure you know what to expect. Financial independence can be a real shock if you have never been financially independent before – an adviser can help you come to terms with the change.
- Organising your finances early in the process is invaluable. You will be required to gather together all of your financial information and exchange it with your former partner, so you both understand one another’s positions. You can do this during mediation or one on one, but at some point you will have to share the information with your lawyer. This mandatory part of the process is called Financial Disclosure. Take the time to ensure you have everything you need or know where to find it.
- Even if your children are older, they may well still be affected by the divorce. It is very important to avoid speaking negatively to them about your partner. The fall-out from divorce will be felt at future family events, and maintaining a civil relationship with your former partner will help to avoid awkward situations.
Divorce and separation can undoubtedly be a stressful time and finding the right advice, at the right time, from the right person, is key. A specialist family lawyer will be able to help you navigate the divorce and financial remedy process, guiding you to achieving a practical solution which benefits both you and your family.