Why are finances so important in divorce?
Financial disputes can be a major stumbling block in the divorce process and could take longer than the divorce itself. This is the business side of divorce and it may be the most important financial event of your life. The choices and decisions that you make now may have an important influence on your financial well-being for many years to come. This Financial section is therefore intended to provide you with information to steer you through your financial issues by explaining how the law works and what is taken into consideration. This should then enable you to make a short term plan before moving on to consider a financial settlement which encompasses your circumstances, obligations and future needs.
'Love flies out the window when poverty comes through the door.'
Old English proverb
This section deals with all the important issues in divorc e finances such as:
Why you may need a solicitor
Short term plan
The family home
Mediation for finances
Here we link you to several agencies that can assist you. If you are in contact with any of these, please say you found them via Divorce Aid. These deal with housing problems, state benefits, financial advisers who can assist you with financial planning, pensions, mediation, debts and tax. Take the bull by the horns and begin your journey today.
The first step
Often the first step in trying to sort out your finances is the hardest. But the rewards of starting this are great; a feeling of taking control and more peace of mind. When feeling rather demoralised with the whole divorce process, it is so tempting to let things slide, to continue as you were but in the words of C.S.Lewis:
'The safest road to hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.'
You must decide what you want and need from the divorce
You may not be feeling at your best but important decisions have to be made and you have to take control of your life. In order to take control and make sound decisions, you have to know what you want. And you have to realise that this will normally involve a compromise. To achieve a realistic picture of what is available, you have to be able to gather information about both your financial circumstances. In order to be able to instruct your solicitor properly, you have to know how the law works and how it is applied to your personal circumstances, to both you and your spouse. Only then can you make sound decisions about what you need to be able to move on and lead a new life.
Don't bury your head in the sand. Get legal advice from a family law solicitor.
'Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know which harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind.'
Trying to agree finances amicably
Even if you are both trying to settle things amicably, you should both be aware how the law works and how it could affect you. Although you may both wish to agree a settlement without a solicitor's help, you should in most cases consult a solicitor independently as either one of you could challenge this agreement in law at a later stage. And this may not be your intention.
The emotional journey
It could be helpful to be aware that each of you is probably at a different stage on this emotional journey. You may have come to a decision to part long ago but your spouse may still be in a state of shock. Look back in our Emotions and Health sections as well as our sections for Children, Teenagers and Parents. There are many people willing to help you. Take it easy and try to be considerate.
Recriminations and arguments have consequences
They will only serve to lengthen the divorce process and therefore increase costs. This would therefore reduce the amount of money to go round. This behaviour could also have long-lasting and harmful consequences in family relationships. Stand back and think about the big picture: arriving at a mutually agreed compromise which enables you both to move on.
A family law solicitor
Whether this settlement is agreed amicably, through mediation, Collaborative law, or the courts, one thing is for sure, you do need a family law solicitor's advice. He is the only one able to advise whether the agreement is fair in the eyes of the law according to your personal circumstances and needs. It is he who will draw it up professionallly for the court to endorse and nothing should be agreed nor signed without his advice. Check back in our Legal section for information about solicitors and how to find one with our help. But in the end, it is up to you to do the work, seek advice, instruct and decide. Prepare yourself well.
'Heaven never helps the individual who will not act.'