Posted by Kit O'Brien, Senior Associate
Top five tips for a smoother divorce
After another tense and difficult Christmas, you’ve come to the realisation that your marriage is no longer working. The New Year is a time for new beginnings and you’ve decided that this is the year when things are going to change for the better.
This is a massive step so how should you approach it? Kit O’Brien, an experienced family lawyer, gives her tips to help you make a fresh start.
1. It’s good to talk
It can be really hard to negotiate when you’re in a highly charged emotional situation, but there’s no doubt that if you keep your channels of communication open it will help you longer term. The more you can agree between yourselves, the more you’ll be able to maintain a civilised relationship between you. Not only will that help you reach agreements with your ex and settle your breakup more quickly, it will also save you money in solicitor’s fees.
2. Be patient
If you have chosen to end the relationship, you’ll have been considering it for some time and be keen to move on. Your decision may well have come as a shock to your ex and they need time to come to terms with it. Trying to force the pace won’t achieve a sensible resolution any quicker and it may simply slow things down if they dig their heels in.
3. Be ready to compromise
If you have children, you’ll need to make arrangements for them as well as resolving financial issues. Be sure to declare full information about your finances to avoid delays and agree arrangements for your children as soon as you can. However you feel about your partner, your children still need them as a parent. Court proceedings, whether dealing with finances or children, are extremely costly both financially and emotionally. Compromise isn’t a sign of weakness and will help you in the long run.
4. Take proper legal advice that’s right for you
While advice from friends, family, work colleagues and the internet can be a wonderful resource, it’s no substitute for expert professional advice which is tailored to your specific circumstances and will help you resolve difficult issues swiftly, sensibly and as cost-effectively as possible. Find a specialist family lawyer who listens and understands your particular situation, can provide empathy and support and who will be straight with you from the start about what they can achieve for you. Be frank about your expectations and your budget. Going to court is one of the most expensive options but in most cases is also the last option. You should also consider mediation and the collaborative law process.
5. Don’t leave loose ends
Many people think that all they need to do is get divorced and that sorts everything out. It doesn’t. Financial claims from marriage only end if a court order is made terminating them. If you have an agreement on finances, get your solicitor to help you make it into a court order that can be approved as binding on you both. If you’ve got no assets to divide, it’s still sensible to terminate all your financial claims so that you can each move on knowing that there’s no possibility of a claim being made against you should your situation change in the future.
Kit O’Brien, senior associate at Royds Withy King, has been a specialist family lawyer for over 25 years and works with clients across Wiltshire.
If the term “New Year, New You” in 2017 means taking advice about relationship issues, get in touch to find out where you stand.
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