When you separate the process of getting divorced can seem like an expensive, out of control, minefield but it doesn’t have to be. Be kind to yourself and your children and access support. Family and friends or professionals can all be helpful depending upon the level of support your situation requires.
Here are a few tips from the specialist family lawyers at Baines Bagguley Penhale Solicitors to help you:
CONSIDER A PARENTING PLAN
If you have children consider a parenting plan. A parenting plan can help you consider, with a view to agreeing, the arrangements for your children now you have separated. If you can, talk together about what you are going to say to the children. Try to look at the situation from both sides and on the basis that you both want what is best for your children. There is a helpful booklet available online at www.CAFCASS.gov.uk/leaflets-resources/leaflets-for-adults.aspx
YOUR FINANCIAL SITUATION
Start getting your financial information together. Look at your financial situation as soon as possible. You will need to contact mortgage companies, pension companies, banks and building societies to find out the amount of capital you have and you need to look at how to manage any changes to your income and outgoings. Don’t try and hide anything. It is much easier now to trace assets and when your ex finds out you have tried to do this it will be much less likely that you will be able to avoid court proceedings which are costly, stressful and time consuming.
WHO TO NOTIFY
Think about who needs to know that you are separated. Whether or not you remain in the same house, if you receive benefits including tax credits you will need to let the benefits office know. If you are living in separate houses you will need to notify the council tax office and utility companies, change your address on your driving licence and contact your banks and building societies. You need to make sure that the mortgage, rent and house insurance are paid. Be aware that joint bank accounts can often be accessed by either of you without the other’s permission and so you may want to transfer or close these accounts.
THE DIVORCE PROCESS
Find out about the divorce process Talk about and try to agree who will start the divorce, when and on what basis. The person who starts the divorce (Petitioner) will have the most costs whether or not they use a solicitor as they are likely to have to pay a Court fee of £550.00. The Petitioner can ask the other person to pay or contribute towards these costs.
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE Keep in mind that you cannot change the past but you can gain a better understanding by talking to each other and there is support available to help both of you. If you can focus on your future goals and the lives ahead of you it is much more likely that you will be able to keep your costs down, avoid having solutions imposed upon you and move on with your lives as soon as possible. You should also review the terms of your Will and any nominations of benefits under the terms of your pension schemes.
The Baines Bagguley Penhale Family Law team, solicitors Barbara Richardson and Nicola Codd, can guide you through the divorce process and provide you with professional support and understanding to help you achieve a constructive resolution of any issues that arise.