January very often sees a spike in couples contemplating separation and divorce. Telephoning a family lawyer can be a daunting prospect and so Tozers Family Law Specialists offer some practical advice to assist you on your way to deciding what you want to achieve.
- The Children
There are a number of resources available online such as Resolution and Relate that offer some guidance and support for the difficult step of telling the children. It is important that you and your partner or spouse have communicated between yourselves that you have decided to separate before the subject is broached with the children but there is support out there for you.
You will both want to maintain as much normality as possible for the children and it is important that you discuss arrangements for you both to spend time with them and for you both to be involved in day to day tasks such as the school runs and homework.
Make sure that the children’s school or nursery is aware of the circumstances and that they have contact details for you both. This will keep everyone informed of what is happening with the children’s schooling.
- Living Arrangements
Part of your discussions will need to cover what the living arrangements will be. Are you going to remain in the same house or is one of you moving out? This will have an impact on the arrangements for spending time with the children (referred to above).
On a more practical level, if one of you is moving out you will need to consider the financial impact of this. It is likely that two incomes were paying for one household and this will now be split over two. You need to bear in mind that the arrangements you put in place now may need to last for some months while matters are finalised and, if you own your home and are looking to sell it, until the sale has completed and any equity is divided between you. It may be that one of you is able to stay with family or friends for a period of time and this may be something that is considered.
If you feel able to do so, it is a good idea for you to keep the lines of communication open and decide on a way to do so. This might be by email or text message or even face-to-face.
Look into relationship support services such as Relate and agencies that offer mediation. The mediation process often results in separated couples deciding how all aspects of their separation will be dealt with, whether in relation to the children or finances, and you are more likely to be content with an outcome that has been agreed rather than imposed upon you.
- Your Finances
It is important that you take steps to identify your income and expenditure and the assets that you own solely and jointly with your partner or spouse, or with a third party. Compile a list of all bank and savings accounts, property, pensions, other assets and liabilities.
If you own a property you will need to know how much it is worth and you can obtain market appraisals from estate agents, quite often free of charge, to establish this. If there is a mortgage on the property you will need to obtain an up to date statement which sets out whether there are any early repayment penalties.
If you have a pension, try and locate your most recent statement. Otherwise contact the Trustees of the pension scheme to obtain a transfer value statement.
- Look Forward
What are you hoping to achieve? How would you like to see life 12 months from now? Consider where you might want to live, whether you will need to adjust your work.
- Take Advice from a Lawyer
Even if you do not think you want to engage a lawyer it is sensible to at least take some initial advice. Find a specialist family lawyer who is a member of Resolution. Tozers’ Family Law Specialists are members of Resolution and offer free initial consultations.
If you would like to arrange a free initial appointment with one of our family lawyers, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us and see how we can resolve your situation with our expert family divorce solicitors team.