The coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but for marriages that were already in rough water the lockdown and restrictions brought in by the disease have been the final straw for many couples. Being on top of each other for a long period of time may have magnified issues that had been there all along, with increased money worries and stress, it is a recipe for marital breakdown.
Now that lockdown has been eased for a while, people are moving forwards with their divorce plans, looking into options, and seeking legal advice. Citizens Advice have revealed that divorce guidance searches online have steadily risen since April after a drop in visits when lockdown started, and are up by 25% compared to this time last year.
In response to this, we have prepared this article to give some useful information to anyone thinking about or going through a divorce at the moment.
Consider the timing
Clearly there are situations in which waiting is not an option. For example if there is any domestic violence going on in the relationship, or one partner is acting in a controlling way, the best thing to do is seek help immediately and get the divorce done with the help of legal advisors.
Usually it is common for couples to wait for certain events to pass before starting divorce proceedings, such as Christmas, birthdays or other big events. This is more the case for couples who have children, to avoid upsetting the little ones, but even if that is not the case some people will choose to wait to avoid disrupting other family members such as parents.
Ultimately, it is up to the couple to decide what is best but in our opinion it is not advisable to wait too long, as an unhappy marriage is not good for the couple’s mental health or that of the people closest to them. This is especially true if the lockdown period was tough, the best thing to do may be to move on and put the difficult period behind you.
Before you begin proceedings…
Some helpful things to help prepare yourself are as followed:
- If you have children, discuss with your partner how and when you will tell them about your divorce. Different aged children will react differently but it is best if both parents are present at the time and the information is presented gently but clearly. It is important not to try to win favour of the children, but rather be balanced and calm without trying to blame the separation on one another. This will only cause confusion.
- Talk to your support network, there is no point in suffering in silence. Speak with friends and family about what you are going through, or if you know someone who has been through a divorce themselves, ask for any suggestions they may have to make things easier for yourself and your family. There may be something you have overlooked, or something they wish they had done but did not which they can let you in on.
- Have a look at properties that could be suitable to move into after the divorce. It is best to be prepared and getting an early idea of what is available is a smart move.
- Start thinking about your own financial position and weigh up your options in terms of how you might split assets with your partner.
Avoid the courts if possible
Here at Lisa’s Law we always want what is best for our clients, and we believe that going to court can lead some unnecessary costs and stress for couples and their families. It is important to remember you will not get financial aid for legal services unless you are divorcing an abusive partner, in the eyes of the law. There are some things that can be agreed on to avoid going to court.
You and your ex-partner can usually avoid going to court hearings if you agree on:
- where the children will live
- how much time they will spend with each parent
- how you will financially support your children
You can use a solicitor if you want to make your agreement legally binding and can agree on child maintenance at the same time or separately.
Here at Lisa’s Law, we have a vast amount of experience in this area and our team of lawyers will give you thorough guidance towards a desirable solution.
We cover various options regarding the splitting of assets in our article Splitting assets in a divorce – How does it work?, but here are some key points to remember:
Here are some of the main factors that will be taken into account by us as your solicitors, and by the Court:
- When the asset was purchased or accumulated.
- Whether the asset considered has been treated by the couple as part of their matrimonial assets
- Income and earning capacity, property and other financial resources that each spouse has or is likely to have in the near future.
- The financial needs and responsibilities which each spouse has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future.
- The ages of each spouse.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Any physical or mental disability of either spouse.
- Roles in the marriage or civil partnership, for example if one person was the main earner while the other acted as primary care giver.
Firstly, you can decide to simply sell the home and both of you move out. The money that both get from this could be put towards buying yourselves a new home each, if you can afford to do this. This is usually the easiest option.
Another simple option, if it can be agreed upon, is one person buying the other out of the property. This can be a good route if one person really wants to stay in the same location, while the other wants to seek pastures new.
Thirdly, it is possible transfer part of the value of the property from one partner to the other as part of the financial settlement. The partner who gave up a share of their ownership rights would keep a stake or ‘interest’ in the home, receiving a percentage of its value when the property is sold.
Have questions? We are here for you!
Or, why not download our free app today? You can launch a new enquiry, scan over documents and much more.
If you have an iPhone, follow this link to download.
If you use an Android phone, follow this link to download.
Find the link here if you need some further instructions on how to use our new app!