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Three Red Flags to Watch Out for During Divorce Negotiations

March 08, 2021  |   Posted by :   |   Divorce

Going through divorce negotiations can be a challenge. There are so many variables to consider and no one-size-fits-all guide to follow – each case is unique and you really need the support of an experienced solicitor to help you find the best solution. Many people simply want to get things over and done with as quickly and cheaply as possible or don’t want to ‘make a fuss’ about the nitty gritty details of dividing up assets, while others will drag out the process by picking holes in every decision and end up in lengthy (and costly) litigation, but no matter how things go, there are a few major red flags to look out for along the way to make sure you’re making the right decisions and getting a fair settlement.

  1. Dismissing assets for the sake of being ‘amicable’

Any solicitor should be concerned if a client says they’re not bothered about certain aspects of their shared finances or shy away from finding out about what their spouse’s assets are really worth because they  want to keep things amicable. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for the financial information you’re entitled to – both of you are legally required to disclose all assets and debts during divorce – and if your spouse is suggesting otherwise then they may well be trying to hide something. Requesting full disclosure of finances and assets needn’t be an aggressive act and it doesn’t mean you can’t be amicable. The purpose of laying out all this information is to devise a settlement that works for both of you. Don’t overlook things like businesses and pensions because you’re worried they might be complicated or a point of contention. In all cases, it comes down to making informed decisions – don’t make any kind of decision without having all the relevant information, and rely on your solicitor’s expertise to know what you need to know! Your solicitor is there to guide you through the process and make sure that you are awarded a fair portion of your shared assets.

  1. Trying to punish your ex when it comes to children’s arrangements

No matter what happens in your divorce, if you both remain present in your children’s lives, you are going to have to maintain a co-parenting relationship afterwards. Using children’s arrangements as a way to get back at your spouse is not only going to damage your ability to communicate in the future, but it’s also going to have a knock-on effect on your children’s relationship with both of you. It’s in all your interests to work together, cooperate, compromise, and find a solution that suits all of you – with your children’s wellbeing at the heart of every decision. Model good behaviour for your children’s sake. Show them that even though sometimes relationships break down, you can still be reasonable and cooperative. You may never want to see your spouse again but your kids deserve the opportunity to spend time with their other parent. And don’t forget that even if your children are still small, there will come a time later in life when they want you both there for major life events: graduation, weddings, grandchildren…  Don’t put your kids in the middle because you want to punish your ex for what happened in your marriage.

  1. “We don’t need a solicitor…”

Possibly the biggest red flag of all is when a client says that their situation is simple enough that they don’t need professional help – or that their spouse has told them that there’s no need to hire a solicitor. The first thing that springs to mind when we hear this is: what are they hiding? Sometimes one partner will try to hide or downplay the value of assets, or try to get ‘a better deal’ out of a settlement by avoiding legal advice, leaving their ex with far less than they are entitled to. Other times, couples simply want to cut costs and believe they are capable of sorting things out without help. And sometimes people somehow get the erroneous idea that if you go to a solicitor you will end up with nothing, have to pay huge fees, or spark of a protracted process of litigation. In all cases, it’s important to remember that a solicitor’s main aim is to help you figure out the best solution for your circumstances and make sure you emerge from your divorce with a fair settlement. Even the most straightforward divorce negotiations will benefit from professional legal advice, however simple, to make sure everything is taken into account and you won’t have to deal with costly mistakes or further litigation down the line. It’s your solicitor’s job to try to avoid antagonism and conflict and help things run as smooth as possible. So yes, you definitely do need a solicitor!

For more advice on separation, divorce, and the options for out-of-court and no-fault divorce, get in touch with the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co. We’re here to take the weight off your shoulders (and take down those red flags whenever we see them!).

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