When divorce is the only solution
Options to assess when divorce is the only solution
By Vanessa Fox – Keebles
When divorce seems to be the only solution, taking the next steps can be bewildering and daunting.
While friends and/or family will advise and support you during this tough time, we always recommend seeking professional independent advice.
Everyone involved, particularly children, need to adjust to the new situation – making securing a fast and cordial agreement a priority. Collaborative law or mediation can help achieve this.
In collaborative law both parties and their solicitors meet face-to-face to resolve family difficulties – remaining in control of the process and the agenda. Accountants, pension advisers and estate agents can also be involved in the sessions.
It involves signing an agreement which disqualifies your lawyers from representing either of you in court if the process breaks down. This ensures everyone’s commitment to find a non-confrontational solution. The final agreement comprises a Court Order leading to a better long-term relationship.
With mediation you and your spouse meet with a qualified mediator to try to reach an amicable settlement. The sessions are confidential and without prejudice should an agreement not be reached. Mediation can also be helpful when previous arrangements regarding children need changing as they grow up.
When undergoing separation or divorce, consider the following:
• If the family home is in joint names, separate your interests which may involve one party buying out the other or the property being sold
• If you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and not worked, remember that the courts will usually give you time to adjust to living separately and will not expect you to return to work immediately
• If you move out of the family home, take all documents relating to your financial affairs with you
• Also take with you possessions you want to keep, preferably with your ex’s agreement – but do not remove all the valuable items as the court will view this negatively
• Any agreements you both make should be in writing. Although not be legally binding, they will help a court determine what you both understood by them at the time
• if you plan to buy a property, take financial advice about a mortgage and about your pension, if you have one
• At all costs avoid involving your children in any disputes – they need to know your separation is nothing to do with them and that you still love them
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