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Insight | For Individuals

Finding Solid Ground: Navigating A Divorce

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The process of navigating a divorce can be daunting and the decision to initiate divorce proceedings can often lead to a mixture of feelings; sadness, anxiety, worry and in some cases relief.

Although the introduction of the “no fault” divorce has simplified the administrative process, inevitably many couples will still need to resolve matters arising from a divorce including finances and child contact. We talk about the new divorce law in our article ‘New ‘no-fault’ divorce law takes effect'.

Communication is a key factor to resolving disputes between divorcing couples. For spouses who can still communicate effectively, and whose legal issues are relatively straight forward, mediation may be a suitable option. Mediation is conducted by an independent mediator who assists separating couples to reach an agreement.

Heald can advise and guide your through all aspects of the divorce proceedings and the related issues that naturally arise throughout the course of the proceedings.

Unfortunately, the likelihood is that divorcing couples may be leaving a highly emotional, toxic, or unhealthy environment where there has been a complete breakdown in communication. Attempting to navigate a divorce and relating issues in this situation can often cause further stress and anxiety to the parties, and potentially inflame an already delicate situation. Divorcing couples will need to discuss and negotiate the division of financial assets, and in some cases the care of any children and preparing for expected and unexpected issues arising are essential to resolving these issues.

Contrary to popular belief, a divorce does not sever the financial ties and obligations that exist between a married couple and so it is essential and highly advisable to have a Financial Consent Order in place prior to applying for the Final Order in the divorce proceedings.

Heald family lawyers can advise and guide your through all aspects of the divorce proceedings and the related issues that naturally arise throughout the course of the proceedings.

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Alternatives to divorce

Separation Agreements or judicial separation agreements can often offer suitable alternatives to a divorce. Some couples, for practical or religious reasons for example, may be unable to initiate divorce proceedings at point of separation.

A separation agreement allows a couple to formally record the basis on which they plan to live apart. The agreement sets out how the assets of the marriage are to be split, including, the matrimonial home, savings, property and bank accounts; they can even cover any agreements regarding the children of the marriage as well as any pets.

Parties to a Separation Agreement should ensure that the terms are reviewed periodically to make sure that they accurately reflect any change in circumstances and to be certain that the agreement remains relevant and applicable.

Although not legally binding, the court will place significant weight on the Separation Agreement so long as it has been correctly drafted and provided that there are no overriding reasons, such as the welfare of any children, to void the agreement. It is therefore imperative that the agreements are properly drafted and frequently reviewed to increase the likelihood of the Agreement being made into a Financial Consent Order at the time of any future divorce proceedings.

Judicial Separation Agreements are a more formal separation agreement as they are approved by the court. The court will approve the agreement and provide an order setting out the division of assets such as money, property and pensions upon separation.

Although these agreements are not always long-term practical solutions because the parties will remain married. However, they may benefit those couples who have a religious or moral objection to divorce or perhaps those who have been married for less than a year but wish to ensure that the financial matters are resolved in advance.

Heald family lawyers can offer assistance on drafting effective separation agreements between you and your spouse.


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