You may have seen in the media that January 7th was Divorce Day. It’s the first Monday back at work after the Christmas break and the day solicitors receive the most calls asking about divorce. In January, more than 40,000 people in the UK search online about divorce, 25% higher than any other month of the year.
It may just be media hype, but it could also be your reality. If you’re thinking about divorce, here are some tips to achieve what you need and reduce stress for everyone involved.
1 – Pick a good team
As soon as you start thinking about divorce, you need to source expert legal advice, ideally from a solicitor who practices exclusively in Family Law. You might think it is expensive at first. However, you’re paying for a wealth of experience. A solicitor will know all the pitfalls you may face along the way, as well as the right actions to protect your interests. In the long run, their experience will save you money, plus some emotional costs.
Your solicitor will know the current court practices and procedures. They will have worked with people just like you. The right solicitor will guide you through the difficult process of divorce. Where necessary, they will refer you to other members of their team, such as counsel, mediators and bespoke financial advisors. You will also need at least one good friend.
2 – Your children must come first
Throughout your divorce process, it is imperative to prioritise your children’s needs, now and in your future plans. Such plans are not limited to where your children will live or the amount of maintenance required to support them. You will also have to think about the effects of the decisions you make and how life will be for them after your divorce. For example, will you be able to celebrate your children’s birthdays with your ex-spouse? Will you be able to co-parent amicably?
As your advocate, your solicitor should be able to look after your interests assertively, yet amicably. Of course, if your spouse or their solicitor doesn’t want to cooperate, your solicitor should possess the requisite skill, determination and expertise to navigate the court process, to secure your rights and those of your children.
3 – Get to know your finances
It is often the case that during a marriage, one party has more knowledge of the family finances. They understand the family’s assets and assume responsibility for managing them.
If that person is not you, you need to educate yourself as soon as possible. Familiarise yourself with the value of all the assets in which you and your spouse hold a financial interest. That knowledge will be hugely advantageous in negotiations regarding the fair division of your assets.
4 – Know that most cases settle
It is important to know that it is not always necessary to issue proceedings to achieve a financial settlement or maintain a meaningful relationship with your children. Court proceedings should be the last resort, to be used only when an agreement cannot be reached.
When you issue proceedings, you relinquish power to the court and a judge will impose an order to resolve your issues. The court is also empowered to impose various sanctions to enforce the order.
5 – Try to strike a balance
Divorce is a difficult time for everyone involved. It brings a heavy strain on your emotions. There are likely to be times in the process when you feel incredible stress.
However, during the divorce process, you will need to make a lot of decisions. These decisions are likely to affect you for years to come, so you need to try and make them in as rational and logical a way as possible.
Try to strike a balance between the emotional and the rational. Appreciate when you are feeling emotional, but try not to let it guide your decisions. Your good friend should be able to help you with this.
Whatever day is your Divorce Day, our tips will make sure you are well prepared to achieve everything you need, while minimising stress and anxiety. To find out more, call Donna Goodsell at Goodsells Solicitors on 020 7622 2221 or email [email protected].