No-one enters into divorce lightly. Chances are you’ve had many months of deep consideration and have played out every possible future scenario in your mind over and over again…
But when the decision is made, and you are ready to proceed, we strongly advise that you take some time to get 100% prepared for the task which lies ahead.
Prepare mentally – and practically
There is a need to prepare yourself mentally for what can be an unpleasant experience, so self-care is of the utmost importance. However, there are also some practical preparations which you should make to put yourself in the best possible position – after all, the process will potentially determine the shape of your future life.
Whilst every divorce case will be different, depending on the circumstances of the split and of the individuals involved, there are some common areas which are key to consider before putting the wheels in motion: -
Divorce applications involve a whole lot of paperwork. To avoid becoming totally overwhelmed, we highly recommend that you ‘get your ducks in a row’ from the start. Think about the things which you share as a married couple – bank accounts, mortgages, loans, pensions, credit cards, investments etc. – and get the most up-to-date paperwork for each of these plus employment details (such as payslips, P60s or self-employment accounts).
As well as gathering the paperwork, try to get an idea of what your joint finances currently look like. This includes outstanding balances on loans or credit cards, any other debts and any savings which you have accrued together. Also, if your role in your marital finances was more back-seat, it’s important to gain an understanding of the true cost of your current lifestyle.
Whilst at this stage you will not have a clear idea of what maintenance or alimony payments you will receive, you need to be confident that you could fully support yourself (and your children where relevant) should that be necessary. This may require reconsideration of your current employment, perhaps even the need to re-train.
It may sound unnecessary, but we also strongly recommend that you catalogue major items you own (including vehicles). Photographic evidence is best to provide an accurate list of the belongings which ultimately will have to be divided, especially since it is not uncommon for large-value items to mysteriously disappear as divorces proceed.
If things have become difficult, you may be tempted to leave the marital home. This may be good for your own well-being, but it could be detrimental to your financial claim and may make it very difficult to move back in. Our advice is generally to stay put until the divorce is finalised (unless, of course, it is unsafe to do so).
Divorce settlements are essentially a negotiation and it pays to go into that negotiation fully prepared. You will also need the very best support at your side, not only to help you get organised but also to help you stay strong and focussed when tensions are high.
At EHL Solicitors we use the benefit of our experience to provide that highest level of support. Get in touch with our local branch, even in these unusual times we are experiencing due to COVID-19.
The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.