At Christmas more than any other time of the year, there is a lot of a pressure for everything to be perfect and to play happy families. All of this seasonal pressure could mean that your relationship reaches breaking point, and you might start thinking about separating from your partner.
With the introduction of ‘No Fault Divorce’ in April 2022 , you now only have to confirm that the marriage has irretrievably broken down. There is no longer a need to explain or prove why this is the case, which has made the divorce process itself simpler but there are still lots of things to think about before taking the final step of separating.
In this article, our Tom Hickman explores some practical tips to help you make what may be one of the hardest decisions of your life:
Are you sure that you really want to separate? You need to be sure that your relationship has suffered an irretrievable breakdown before considering the arrangements for the children, or the financial issues. Marriage counselling is a good starting point and you can read more about it here: https://www.relate.org.uk. You can even attend counselling on your own without your partner to explore your options, and get information about what resources may be available to you .
You should rely on your closest and most trusted family and friends to support you through the process. If you don’t feel you have a good support network then consider seeing a counsellor or therapist.
You should also seek early advice from a solicitor who you can trust. We will be able to advise you about the process, timescale, give you guidance on the future arrangements for your children and deal with the financial issues arising from any separation.
Do your homework
You will need to know where you stand in terms of the financial issues so collate important legal and financial documents like your marriage certificate, tax returns, bank statements etc. If you can provide us with reliable information about the finances then we will be able to help you make an informed decision at an early stage about the assets, and your rights.
Children of the Family
There will be a lot of change for the children during any separation and we can advise you about the options and support you through the process.
Think about the possible future arrangements for the children in terms of where they will live, how much time they will spend with each parent, any impact on their schooling and whether they are old enough to express their own feelings about the future.
Division of assets
Think about your needs in terms of housing, income and how you would like your future to look. Remaining in the family home may mean buying your partner out of their share in the property, taking on the mortgage in your sole name as well as paying the bills and maintenance costs. You should review your mortgage capacity and looking at property prices. Some early research as to what you and your partner can realistically afford can help us to give you more detailed advice from the outset.
We offer mediation and can talk to you about ways to settle things by agreement with your partner. You do not have to go to court. Read more about mediation here: https://resolution.org.uk/looking-for-help/splitting-up/your-process-options-for-divorce-and-dissolution/
Make a Will
Talk to us about making a new will and how to protect your position pending settlement of the overall financial issues.
How much will it cost?
Have an early, no obligation chat with us so we can explain the likely costs and funding options to you.
These are some of the key considerations but contact us for a no obligation chat with one of our specialist family solicitors here.