6th July 2020
If you believe your relationship is getting past the point of repair and are considering getting a divorce, then there are a few things that you can do to prepare yourself that will be useful from a practical point of view, but can also help to get your head around your decision.
When you are yet to sit down and have that difficult conversation about your marriage, then doing some of these things can help you to gain an understanding of your legal position, your rights and entitlements and your finances.
If you think about the ending of your marriage being a journey, then you will understand the importance of preparing. If you were to travel across the country, there would be things that you would need to pack, you would need somewhere to stay, you would need to plan your route and fill the car up with petrol. It would also be sensible to plan for any mishaps or problems that you anticipate along the way.
Our Family Law Team specialise in helping couples untie the financial aspects of their relationship in order to move forward and live independently. They share the following top tips that will help you get your paperwork in order and have a clear understanding of the process.
#1 Is counselling an option?
Are you 100% certain that your marriage is over, or would you be able to mend the cracks with some help from a professional marriage counsellor? Some couples take comfort in knowing that they have tried everything before calling it a day but for many if they are seriously thinking about divorce then the relationship is already over.
#2 Get your paperwork in order
When getting divorced there is a fair amount of paperwork that you will need to complete. You will also need to get a clear picture of your financial position which may mean you need to dig through some paperwork in order to get. Useful paperwork to put to one side or take copies of would be;
#3 Make a list of all your assets
Write down on paper or create a spreadsheet, if you are Excel savvy, of all the assets that you own as a couple. This would include savings, investments, your property and any holiday homes, cars, expensive antiques or other valuables. If you know the value of your house and other non-financial assets then that would also be useful.
#4 Make a list of all your debts
From how much you have left on your mortgage to any loans or credit cards that are not yet settled. It is useful to build up a picture of how your debts could be managed when you separate. Also include any money that you might have borrowed from family and agreed plans to re-pay them.
#5 Get acquainted with your household finances
If it is not usually your responsibility to manage your utility bills and household expenses, then now is the time to figure out the running costs of your home. Find recent statements and do your sums so that you know what the monthly or yearly outgoings are. You will need to know this information if you plan to stay in the family home and manage bills yourself.
Keep scrolling for the next 5 tips…
#6 Get a grip of your personal finances
Do the same with other outgoings, include things like food shopping, petrol, childcare, gym memberships and how much disposable income you need each month to live off.
#7 Update your will
If you have a will then it is very likely that you will want to update it to reflect your relationship status. If you are still married, but no longer together then you may wish to get this updated before your divorce is finalised.
#8 Think about plans for children
If you have younger children, then it is a good idea to think about how you propose to split your time between both households. It is always advisable to put the children’s interests first and base your arrangements on what it best for them and their needs. This can often be an area that is highly disputed when going through a divorce, so it is good to discuss this early on. There is a useful Parenting Plan on the CAFCASS website that you can access by clicking here.
#9 Meet with a divorce lawyer
Some people may be reluctant to meet with a lawyer until they are ready to get the ball rolling with their divorce, but an initial appointment with a divorce lawyer can arm you with all the information you need in order to make an informed decision. You can use your initial meeting to fact find and learn more about the process and best route for you to take. After the meeting there is no obligation to press ahead immediately, in fact, many clients come back at a later date to get started on their separation.
#10 Get yourself some goals and plan for the future
There is no escaping the fact that a divorce is usually a stressful, upsetting and emotional change to go through. Now is a good time to set yourself some goals. What are the three most important things that you want to get out of your divorce? What is most important to you when it comes to the children arrangements? And, once your separation is over what do you plan to do for yourself? What will your living arrangements be in the short-term and long-term? Is there a special holiday you want to go on or something you want to treat yourself with after the divorce papers are signed? Now is a time to focus on you and your mental wellbeing too.
When divorcing you want to ensure that you have a family lawyer who appreciates your situation, understands your goals and works tenaciously to get you the best outcome for your family.
Whether you are looking for some initial guidance on divorce or for someone to take the reins and navigate you through the process, then please get in touch with our experienced and friendly team today.
We are available for meetings in our office or we are equally as happy to work with you remotely via email, phone and video conference. Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant at any time of day or night.
We look forward to offering you a helping hand and some practical support through this difficult time.
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5 Initial Steps to Getting a Divorce
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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