To the outside world everything looks fine, but you know different. Separating from a partner and the change this brings can be difficult but with the support of friends, family and the right information, things can improve for the better.
There are both emotional and practical considerations which come in to play if you separate or divorce. Your divorce solicitor can provide you with practical support and help but one of the best things you can do from the outset is speak to friends and family members, this help is invaluable. Alternatively, your divorce solicitor can signpost you to obtain support from a Family Counsellor, if necessary. We understand that divorce is a huge decision and will have consequences for a number of people, so it is of course important that the right decision is made. Making sure that you have the right emotional support can really help this process.
If you are not sure whether you are ready to divorce immediately, there are other options you can consider, such a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is a contract between you and your spouse confirming that you agree to live apart. The document can also deal with other matters, such as a division of the finances and can provide for a divorce after a set period of time, or such as you decide. A Separation Agreement would also confirm that within future divorce proceedings, both parties would invite the Court to make a financial order based on the terms included within the Agreement. Clearly, both parties must be in agreement as to the terms.
Whilst a matrimonial Court in future divorce proceedings will retain final jurisdiction, if a Separation Agreement has been properly drafted, there has been full disclosure and both parties have been legally advised, the Courts will be very reluctant to go against it.
You may be ready to move forward with divorce proceedings with immediate effect. If you do decide to commence divorce proceedings, we will be in need of your original Marriage Certificate, so it is sensible to try and locate this. If you are unable to find this, it is possible to request a duplicate from the Church at which you were married or the Registry Office. If you were married abroad, it may be necessary to obtain a translation of the Certificate, however, as solicitors we can help you with this.
It is also important to consider your financial position. You can take practical steps by collating information about your pensions. If you own a property, it is recommended that you contact a local estate agent who can provide you with a current market valuation for the property. In the majority of cases they will often provide valuations for free. In relation to pension valuations, quite often it takes several weeks to obtain these figures so it is advisable to contact your pension provider at an early stage. It is also useful to obtain copies of your bank statements, which are generally needed for a 12 month period.
If you are able to reach an amicable agreement with regards to finances and assets, a divorce solicitor can assist you in having that agreement incorporated into a legally binding Order. Within divorce this can be done by way of a Court Order, often referred to as a Consent Order. Your solicitor will draft a Court Order which, once approved and signed by both parties, will be sent to the Judge for their approval. The Consent Order will also be sent to the Court with a Statement of Information for a Consent Order. The Statement of Information for a Consent Order should be an accurate position of both parties’ current financial positions and the Judge will then consider the Statement and the Order before him and, if approved, will seal the Order, which means it will then be legally binding.
A legally binding agreement protects your interests
As solicitors, we would strongly advise that you have any agreement reached incorporated into a legally binding Agreement. If you do not have a legal agreement between you, then you are open to dispute in the future.
If you have children, it is also important to consider what relationship you want to have with your spouse or partner in the future, as parents of your children. If your children are young, you will have to continue to have an ongoing relationship with your spouse as you co-parent. Even if the children are grown up, it is likely that you will continue having an ongoing relationship for the benefit of your children. Consideration should also be given as to when and how you tell your children about your decision to separate. If you can agree a narrative together about what information you will provide to the children, this can be very helpful. Try not to place the blame on either party, and answer any questions your children may have at a level they will understand.
At Holmes & Hills our Family Law Solicitors do not underestimate how divorce and relationship breakdown can turn your life upside down. We understand how hard it can be because we help hundreds of clients across Essex and Suffolk in a similar situation. We often see clients who are initially very unhappy, and sometimes they are in a highly difficult situation, feeling that there is no way out. We are able to give you information and guidance with regard to your legal rights and the options available to you. With accurate information, you can then understand what choices you have available and can start making the decisions to take towards a better future.
We offer an initial interview, giving you the time you need to discuss your options, possible ways forward and to get the advice you need for just £105, plus VAT. If you would like to make an appointment, please contact us today on 01376 320456 (Essex) or 01787 275275 (Suffolk).
Posted 04/01/2019 by:
Solicitor in Family Team
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