Going through a divorce is often a very stressful time. Keeping a clear head and making rational decisions about financial matters is sometimes difficult for those coping with the breakdown of a relationship. Often advice is received (some unwanted) from a range of sources, including friends who may have been through similar experiences, making it difficult to know which advice to follow and which path to take.
Will Mercer, a Solicitor in the Family Department at Taylor Walton Solicitors, offers some guidance on the most important points to consider.
1. Find the right lawyer
Perhaps the most important consideration is who to instruct as your lawyer. Different lawyers have different approaches - some aggressive, some less so - but try to find a lawyer who listens to you and adapts the advice to your circumstances.
It’s important for you and your lawyer to be able to work together, particularly if matters are complicated, so make sure you chose a lawyer who you can get along with!
2. Consider the best way to reach a resolution
There are a number of ways to reach a resolution with your spouse and taking the matter to Court is not always the best option, both in terms of cost and the stress that can result.
Consider other means to reach an agreement in relation to the financial elements of the breakdown of the marriage including; direct discussions between the parties, mediation, collaborative law or written negotiations between the parties’ solicitors. If an agreement can be reached using these means, it is likely to significantly reduce the cost.
Your lawyer should be able to talk you through the options so that you can chose the best way forward for you.
3. Understand the law
Key to being able to reach an agreement with your spouse is understanding the law and being able to apply this to your circumstances. Your lawyer should give you guidance on the factors a Court would take into account so that you can consider what a fair settlement might be for you.
4. Avoid social media
Recent research suggests that the impact of social media on divorce cases is on the increase. Try to avoid posting on social media about the divorce, the relationship or your spouse as this can lead to issues within the case, potentially inflame matters and derail any settlement.
5. Think about the future
The decisions made in divorce proceedings can have far reaching consequences for the future. Think about the impact of any potential agreement regarding financial matters on your future and consider taking financial advice as well as legal advice to fully assess the consequences.