Fiona Apthorpe, head of the family team at Geldards, offers her top tips for divorce.
Statistically, 42% of British marriages end in divorce and whilst no one marries thinking they will divorce, there is chance that you, or someone close to you, will find yourself in that situation.
In these unfortunate circumstances, if faced with divorce, what can you do to make sure you and your family are protected and financially secure for the future?
Top Tips to consider:
- Find a good lawyer early on – someone who is experienced and Resolution accredited. A reputable lawyer will first explore whether the marriage can be saved, but if that is unlikely they can advise you on steps you can take to protect your position. Get their advice before you make any decisions. Friends or professional advisors may be able to recommend a good lawyer.
- Don’t rush into anything. Get advice and support first. If you leave, do so on your terms with an action plan in mind.
- Divorce does not have to be a battle – a good lawyer will work hard to resolve disputes as amicably and cost effectively as possible. If matters cannot be settled with your former partner, there are options such as family mediation which may help you to reach a reasonable outcome for both of you.
- Be prepared – you may have to attend court, however, it doesn’t have to be a fight. Judges do not like point scoring and remember that if you are parents you will still have to have contact with your ex-partner in the future.
- If you can avoid it, do not move out of the family home – once you move, you will find it harder to control a potential sale of the property and your former partner may well be in no hurry to move.
- Collate as much financial information as you can right at the start – the law does not allow you to go through your spouse’s briefcase or hack into their computer. However, you may be able to find out more information about their finances legitimately, if ostensibly you are still a couple when you do so. Your former partner is required to fully disclose their finances, but it won’t hurt to be ahead of the game.
- Work with your lawyer – solicitors are on hourly rates, the more organised you are the cheaper the bill will be. A good lawyer will always be happy to talk through what you can do to keep costs down.
- Review your will – if you die before a divorce claim is settled your former partner may inherit your estate. That may be fine if you are on good terms and have children together, but if your former partner remarries and then dies, you may have disinherited your children.
- Be sensible in your expectations – listen to your lawyer. You can always ask to get a second opinion from a barrister. Consider if what you want is achievable, if not, try to aim to get the best of what you can achieve.
- Be realistic about costs – a good lawyer may seem expensive but in the long run they will cost you less and do better for you than someone cheaper but less experienced.
- Finally, you will get through this – for a successful divorce consider how you behave; put your children first, be firm but be fair and always keep your dignity.
A good solicitor wants to achieve the best for their client. You can help by working with your lawyer constructively so as to obtain the best possible outcome for you and your family. For more information regarding separation and divorce, please contact Fiona Apthorpe, Head of Geldards Family Team, via Fiona.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01332 25 4124.