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24 September 2014

10 Practical tips when facing divorce, separation or dissolution of civil partnership

During separation, divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, we recognise that emotions are running high and it can be difficult for those involved to take a pragmatic approach. Below we list ten sensible and practical tips which aim to assist anyone going through this difficult time:

  1. Try not to involve the children
    Even though you and your spouse may no longer get along, there is no need to involve the children.  It is always best to discuss the situation out of earshot of the children and to avoid making the children feel they have to take sides.
  2. Try and deal with matters amicably or consider mediation
    In the first instance, try and have a discussion with your spouse about the way forward.  The days of parties going to Court for a Judge to make a decision in respect of financial matters are becoming infrequent.  The ethos now is to try and deal with things in an amicable way whilst also minimising costs for both parties.
  3. Remember every case is different
    When going through a divorce, there is always a friend or colleague who is keen to offer you their “advice”.  The thing to remember is that every divorce is different due to the individual circumstances.  Therefore, the likely outcomes are different and one can rarely rely on advice given by people by their own experience.
  4. Be knowledgeable about your finances and liabilities
    We are often concerned by the number of clients who come to seek advice and do not know their own financial situation.  Ensure you know about what bank accounts and debts are held in joint names, and be aware of the level of joint debt to include credit cards and mortgages.  It is always wise to know and be in control of your own financial situation.
  5. Don’t assume
    Many people make assumptions without taking legal advice.  However, there are many myths associated with divorce and separation and therefore assume nothing.
  6. Be realistic
    Be realistic in your expectations.  Whatever agreement is reached has to be workable and therefore do not set your expectations too high.  Ultimately the matrimonial finances are going to be divided somehow and both parties’ future housing needs will need to be met.
  7. Consider using a counsellor
    Discussing purely emotional matters with your lawyer is not the best use of your funds.  By employing an expert counsellor, this can work out much more cost effective in the long run.
  8. Do not comment about your ex on social networking sites
    Commenting about your spouse on a social networking site will only antagonise the situation further and is not advisable whatever they may have done.  Sometimes it is appropriate for us to advise clients to temporarily close such accounts until matters are concluded.
  9. Invest in a pre-nuptial agreement before the marriage
    Consider a pre-nuptial agreement prior to marriage.  This sets out how the matrimonial assets would be divided on divorce and can save unnecessary expense in the future.
  10. Get specialised legal advice
    Even if you do not intend to instruct a solicitor to take control of matters for you, it is always advisable to have an initial chat with a family lawyer regarding the way forward to ensure that you know your legal position and your rights.
    Our specialist family team offers expert advice regarding all family law matters.  We offer fixed fee services as well as a pay as you go service meaning that you only pay for advice as and when you need it.

For more information please contact us.