When clients come to see us about divorce they are usually overwhelmed and anxious about the process. Often, they will have spoken to family and friends and will be unsure of what to expect. Here we look at the most common myths and mistakes that you can make when considering divorce.
1. Not sorting out the finances and getting a Court Order
It is increasingly common for couples to use the online divorce process themselves, and even more likely in April 2022 when the “no fault” divorce comes into effect. Many couples are of the belief that once you have received your Decree Absolute that this has severed your financial ties with your spouse. It does not! Even if you have reached a financial agreement between you both about your assets, or even when there are no finances to divide, we would always recommend that you obtain a financial order to give you a clean break and prevent any future claims being made. You do not have to go to Court to get an Order. You can reach agreements and get these dealt with amicably. These sorts of Orders should be drafted by an expert and it is always a good idea to discuss these with your divorce lawyer and get them to draft the documents. It protects both you and your spouse.
2. Discussing the divorce with your children
It should go without saying but, whilst your relationship might have ended, you and your ex will remain co-parents which will mean that you will be involved in bringing up the children for some time, and even beyond their childhood. Children often do not have the emotional intelligence and maturity to deal with adult problems and they should not have to. It is deeply damaging to children to be caught in the crossfire of arguing parents. It is vital that the children know that it is fine to have a relationship with both of their parents and the benefits this brings to them.
3. Social media and using it in divorce
Your only rule to remember is that you should not put anything on social media, or say anything in an email or text, that you would not want your lawyer or a Judge to see in the future. People often show us social media posts that are inappropriate that their ex has thought are private when in fact they are not.
4. Taking legal advice from friends and family
Of course, you should talk to your friends and family and get important emotional support from them. But please remember that their experience of a divorce is unlikely to be the same as yours. They are not married to your ex and they don’t have the same financial circumstances as you; every case is different. The only person you should take legal advice from is your lawyer, who you are paying to advise you.
5. There are limits to what we and the Court can do
We can’t change your ex-partner. If they are difficult or unreasonable then the court process is not going to change that. We will help you manage that behaviour and support you with that but we can’t necessarily change your ex and neither can the Court.
6. Court proceedings are the last resort
The Court process is long and difficult. The family Courts are overwhelmed with cases and face huge delays. If we can negotiate a settlement out of the court process then we will. We will explore alternative methods of resolution including mediation or other out of court options such as arbitration. Particularly when it comes to children related matters, you do not want a Judge, who is a stranger, deciding how often each of you can see your children. As well as delays, out of court settlements are often much more cost effective and more likely to succeed.
7. Overlooking pensions
Apart from any property that you own, pensions are often the next biggest asset that you have between you. Pensions can be shared in divorce proceedings, particularly if there is an imbalance of pension provision to one party. There are different options regarding pensions, and you should always take legal (and often financial) advice on the best way forward.
8. Financial planning
When looking at splitting assets it is going to be vital to consider financial planning. If you are wanting to remain living in the family home, or looking at purchasing a new property, you will need to know whether this is affordable. We will recommend that you take advice on personal finances during the divorce process, to better establish what outcome you can achieve.
9. Looking after yourself
Separation and divorce is likely to take its toll on you both emotionally and physically. It can be a very stressful time and so it is important that you look after your health. Being aware of the impact that this can have on you will mean that you can better process the separation and the next steps in your life. Seek help from professionals if you find yourself struggling.
10. Don’t do it all yourself
You might think “well you would say that”! However, do ensure that you get the right legal support for you. Some people believe that they can represent themselves in divorce and save money on legal fees. That is not always the case, and you could overlook something and walk away unprotected if you have not appointed a Solicitor to look after your interests. We can offer a variety of options of support from full representation, to working with you in the background and providing occasional support.