For many family lawyers dealing with divorce and separation, early January is often a busy time as couples consider making a fresh start in the New Year. For married couples, major considerations may include divorce, money and children, although not necessarily in that order.
Are there any alternatives to divorce?
If a couple is not ready to start divorce proceedings, there are several options, such as a Separation Agreement, which may help them move forward without having to dissolve their marriage.
That said, the only way to dissolve a marriage is through divorce proceedings, based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Since the introduction of the ‘no-fault’ divorce, the process is now fairly straightforward from a procedural point of view.
How are financial matters dealt with?
On divorce, various financial concerns compete for attention. For example, there may be an urgent need for income or worries over future housing needs. Thankfully, most couples are able to reach a negotiated settlement without the need for Court. Family Lawyers can advise on various routes to a negotiated settlement, including Mediation, Collaborative Law and Arbitration.
There are considerable cost-savings to be made from a negotiated settlement and potential benefits in terms of avoiding delay and uncertainty, not to mention the acrimony that often accompanies Court proceedings.
If asked to consider the financial aspects of a divorce, a Court will review the full extent of each parties’ assets and liabilities. Sometimes, parties disagree over the value of assets and specialist help may be needed.
For many couples, the stresses and strains of the holidays will blow over and give no further cause for concern.
For some couples, however, the best next step will be to take advice from a specialist Family Lawyer who may recommend counselling, if there is any chance of a reconciliation, or discuss options to deal with their ongoing separation.