22nd April 2021
This last year has been tough on couples who are not getting along or are coming towards the end of their relationship. Some have felt trapped, unable to move out or move on with their lives after separating and still living under the same roof. Others have found that the stress of lockdown has been the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, on their marriage.
The latest lifting of lockdown restrictions on 12 April 2021 has given some a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Non-essential shops, bars and gyms re-opening has given people the opportunity to get back to some form of ‘normal’ life. The restrictions being lifted has allowed people to leave the house more often and enjoy some of the hobbies or pleasures they previously used to unwind or de-stress.
Being able to meet up with friends and family outdoors has allowed for people to re-connect, have meaningful conversations, and open up about their personal struggles. Speaking to others can help come to realisations about your relationship and get advice which is difficult to obtain when stuck in the house together.
Our Divorce & Family Lawyers share some information on taking that first step towards divorce for those who are considering leaving their marriage.
It can be difficult to see a way out or imagine a new life after separating when you are not able to freely leave your house often or meet up with other people for valuable support.
Now that restrictions have eased and there appears to be a bit more certainty economically, many people are now feeling ready to take steps to end their marriage or civil partnership.
For some people timing is very important when making the decision to leave. There are many factors to consider such as finances, housing, and children, along with other aspects such as work commitments and key family celebrations or dates. Some things that you might wish to do that can help get your prepared are:
Build a Clear Picture of Your Finances
Gather information on your incomings, outgoings, any debts, savings, investments, pensions etc. This can help you understand your affordability when it comes to buying or renting another property or determine if you can afford to stay living where you are. This information will also be required when going through the formal process of a divorce at the financial disclosure stage, so it is sensible to fully understand your position ahead of this.
Run a Credit Report
Starting again may require some dipping into savings or some borrowing. It is a good idea to know what your credit score looks like ahead of time should you need to apply for any mortgages, loans or even credit for furnishing a new property or paying for legal advice via a credit card. If your score is less than desirable, you will have some time to improve this before divorcing.
Find Useful Documents
When applying for a divorce or seeing a solicitor for advice there are various documents you will need to have in the first instance. These include your marriage certificate, photo ID such as a driver’s licence or passport and a recent utility bill or bank statement with your home address. Sometimes these documents are not close to hand or easy to find. Particularly if you want to get early advice without your partner knowing.
Seek Legal Advice from a Specialist
Getting early legal advice on divorce or separation can help you understand where you stand, your legal rights and the process that you have ahead of you. Divorce can of course be stressful but having a good understanding of how it works and knowing what lies ahead can really help you to feel more in control. For information on how our first appointments work please click here. There is no substitute for professional, expert legal advice. Whilst you might now be able to meet a friend at the local pub, a solicitor is far best placed to give you practical and up-to-date information. Keep conversations with your friend for moral support, not legal advice.
Think About Children Arrangements
If you have children, it is a good idea to think about what you would like the arrangements and contact plan to look like. This can be an emotional and difficult part of a divorce and often both parties will face disagreements over child arrangements. Remember to always keep in mind these 3 things. 1. The children’s best interests, 2. What is fair and 3. What is reasonable. You can explore child arrangements in more detail by visiting the CAFCASS website where you can download a helpful ‘Parenting Plan’ document which sets out all the considerations you need to make when children are involved in a separation.
It is good to know that over the last year, the divorce process has adapted to help people continue with their lives during the various periods of lockdown restrictions.
It is still possible to seek legal advice with a family solicitor. This can be done over the phone, via Zoom or Teams, or in our covid secure offices if you prefer. Which ever makes you feel more comfortable.
The family courts have been working hard to improve their online processes, which are now proving to be slicker and quicker. Court hearings can be carried out online via a video conference to avoid any travel or meetings held indoors.
The property market is moving well too. So, if you would be looking to sell, purchase or rent a property following your separation, this can be done in good time under some minimal restrictions.
Whatever stage you are at – if you are looking for some initial advice before having a conversation about divorce, or if you are already separated and looking to finalise your divorce – please contact Lamb Brooks Family Department.
Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant who can take some initial details and arrange for a solicitor to return your call.
We hope to help you find a way forward as we come out of lockdown and start looking ahead to the future, and hopefully a better rest of 2021.
Upcoming Changes to Divorce Law: A No Fault Divorce System
How To Have A Healthy Divorce
Divorcing When The Time is Right
Living With an Ex Partner in Lockdown
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.
Lamb Brooks LLP
Victoria House 39 Winchester Street Basingstoke Hampshire RG21 7EQ
f: 01256 330 933
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