When you’re embarking on a life-changing journey like divorce, the end can sometimes seem far out of sight. Not knowing how your separation will turn out, or when it will all be over is frustrating – and sometimes overwhelming – but having a plan in place for your future can help to ease the stress of the separation process.
Planning for life after divorce means preparing for change, whether it’s an upheaval of your living situation, complications with childcare, or a drop in income. Change can be scary, and you may find that you’re not able to maintain the lifestyle you have been used to, so it’s important to consider the effects of separation to ensure you have a practical plan in place.
Your first port of call should be your solicitor, who will help you establish what your assets and liabilities are, and discuss your best options for negotiating a financial settlement. If you feel able to work together with your ex and come to a mutually beneficial agreement, you might want to consider mediation. This out-of-court method involves cooperation and discussion, with the help of an objective mediator, and is particularly effective for couples with children who need to make plans for co-parenting in the future.
Next, it’s a good idea to draw up two comparative budgets: one for your financial situation before separation, and one for afterwards, using your projected figures. This will allow you to see the difference in outgoings, expenses and income, and help you to make realistic adjustments. Factor in the need to cover costs you might previously have split, such as insurance, childcare, rent or mortgage, utility bills etc, and don’t forget to include your legal costs. Fixed-fee legal options are sometimes available for each stages of the separation process, allowing you to budget more accurately and spread the cost. Knowing what you need to pay and when can take some of the stress out of the situation.
It’s likely that you will have to change your expectations – at least temporarily – while you find your feet after divorce. You might need to downsize your home, forfeit certain luxuries or even change your job, but you might also be eligible for additional benefits or find your taxes go down – and allowing yourself to move on from a difficult relationship can be emotionally liberating. It’s daunting to have to reassess your situation, but you should also take it as an opportunity to make new goals for your future – if you were previously reliant on your partner, you will probably need to think about re-joining the workforce, look into higher education or start training for a new career. If you’re prepared to compromise, you may even be able to include the costs of these career developments into your financial negotiations, especially if you have children to support.
Try to separate the emotional side of divorce from any financial decisions. It might feel a little cold, but if you can view the separation process as a business arrangement, you should find it easier to be objective. Use the expertise of your solicitor to inform your decisions, do your best to work collaboratively with your ex to find the best solution for both of you, and budget carefully to accommodate the potential changes. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand regarding financial issues when you’re already going through a tough time emotionally, but preparing for life after separation will help you to move on both practically and psychologically.
Finally, choosing a more cooperative method of separation like mediation, arbitration or collaborative family law is likely to lower your costs, speed up the process and make compromising a little easier, which in turn will allow you plan more realistically for the future.
If you need advice on the process of separation, get in touch with the friendly family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co. We offer fixed-fees on all our legal options, and will support you through every decision to make the best of your situation. Visit www.franceslindsay.co.uk for more information or drop into our offices in Maidenhead and Beaconsfield to make an appointment.Tags: divorce Beaconsfield, divorce Maidenhead, divorce solicitor Thames Valley, divorce thames valley, divorce windsor