Making the decision to separate can be overwhelming as you try to juggle both emotional and practical issues and work out a way to move forward. There are so many factors to consider – from living arrangements to children’s issues – and even comparatively small decisions, like who gets the sofa, can turn to full scale arguments.
To make things easier, start by making a checklist of priorities and gradually draw up a tailor-made action plan. Try to work through each point with your ex as collaboratively as possible, and make good use of your solicitor’s advice and expertise.
To get you started, here are a few of the major aspects of divorce to consider:
Every couple’s circumstances and needs are different. You and your ex may be separating amicably, or you may have a rocky road of negotiation ahead. Your first port of call should always be your solicitor, who will be able to provide you with vital advice on the best way to proceed. Don’t make any major arrangements or allow yourself to be bullied into decisions by your ex until you’ve spoken to your family lawyer.
Going to court is not the only method of dispute resolution for separating couples. If you’d rather keep things private, and feel that you are able to cooperate with your ex to find a mutually beneficial solution, you might want to consider an out-of-court option such as mediation, arbitration, or collaborative family law.
If you’re able to discuss the situation objectively with your ex, it’s worth setting down a few provisional ideas for dealing with finances and the logistics of your separation. Fixed-fee legal services can help to keep costs under control, and a timeline (with deadlines for each of the major decisions and processes) can be useful in keeping you both on the same page.
To minimise the impact and pressure on your children, it’s important to put a realistic plan of action into place regarding where and with whom your children will live, how you intend to divide up childcare, and how your financial needs might change as single parents. Work with your solicitor to create a ‘co-parenting’ plan for the future.
Getting your paperwork in order as early as possible will help your solicitors advise you on financial settlements and negotiations. Consider every possible source of income, and any other savings, assets and debts when putting together this information, as non-disclosure may result in a fine or further legal complications.
Separation can be a daunting process, but remember that you’re not alone. Your family law solicitor is there to guide you through this difficult time, and there are many other organisations that offer free advice and information on every aspect of divorce, such as:
- Resolution – Family Law Organisation
- Relate – Couples Counselling
- Gingerbread – Advice for Single Parents
- The Money Advice Service
- The Law Society
To get in touch with a friendly, experienced family lawyer, contact us at Frances Lindsay & Co. We cover the whole of the Thames Valley, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, from separation and divorce to property, wills and probate. Let us take the weight off your shoulders.Tags: arbitration, collaborative family law, divorce, mediation, separation