Before getting a divorce, there are several steps to take to ensure you are dealing with matters in the best way possible. Reading up on the latest divorce news and updates on sites like www.brookman.co.uk will provide you with more details on the new no-fault divorce laws, children’s issues, international divorce, and pre-nuptial agreements. However, there are also four key areas you should seek more knowledge on to ultimately help you get the kind of divorce outcome you want.
- Check you can get divorced
First things first. If you live in England or Wales, double check if you are eligible to divorce by visiting the gov.uk website. For you to get a divorce, there are three main criteria: your marriage will need to be recognised in the UK, you will need to have been married for over one year, and your relationship must be at a point where it has permanently broken down. If you are in a civil partnership this can be slightly different, so you should check this too.
- Find a reputable family lawyer
If your divorce is likely to be straightforward and amicable, then it is usually less expensive to use a lawyer or solicitor. However, if there are finances involved and/or if you have children or other complexities related to your divorce, seek the advice of an experienced legal professional. At this stage, find out fees, and what options you have in terms of making financial claims, or possible financial claims your soon to be ex-spouse could make against you. Ideally, you want a legal expert with good reviews you can see online, and one with non-confrontational but firm negotiation skills. Also check they are accredited and have specialist knowledge in the areas where you need support.
- Figure out your finances
Thirdly, gain a full picture on where you stand financially. Do you have your own income? Do you own any properties or assets? Assets could be a pension, or savings as well as your home or money in your bank accounts. Make sure you have the paperwork and valuation documents related to each asset and details on whether they were acquired separately or jointly.
You should also look at what finances you owe. To get a full picture, request a copy of your credit report. Having proof of income, pay slips, tax info and credit card statements in your possession are also useful for your initial meeting with a family lawyer. Another tip is to create a post-divorce budget. Financial circumstances can change drastically in many cases so get a clear idea of how this could be for you and budget/save accordingly.
- Stay put
Before getting a divorce, you may feel compelled to move out of the family home. In some instances, where there is abuse and domestic violence, this may be the only option. However, generally it is better to stay in the marital home where possible. This is because if you leave, and your ex-spouse still pays the mortgage while your divorce is ongoing, this period will be considered by the courts when determining a financial settlement. If you still feel you want to move, make sure you continue to pay your share of the mortgage.
The overriding message before divorcing is to take time to consider your options. A more general rule is to always make sure you are being reasonable during proceedings. This can be challenging for couples experiencing an acrimonious split, but it is imperative to put yourself across well, as poor behaviour and demanding expectations are looked on unfavourably and will do you a disservice in your divorce.