The most wonderful time of year – or the most challenging?  

The build up to the Christmas holidays for many can be overwhelming as pressure mounts to mask relationship challenges. Many will put a smile on their faces just to make it through the holidays for their families.  

The first working Monday of the New Year is often referred to as “Divorce Day” as many couples delay separation until after the holidays for the sake of their families. If you find yourself in this challenging position and don’t know where to start – we have created a short list of things not to do along with some common questions we hear from clients in your position. 

What not to do whilst separating: 

· Do not move out of your family home unless there is a fear for

your safety.

· Do not deny your partner/husband the right to co-parenting. 

· Do not sign any documents without seeking legal advice. 

The most common questions separating couples/parents have are; 

Do I need a solicitor to get divorced? 

Whilst the divorce process is increasingly designed to be user-friendly, it remains the case that an incorrectly completed divorce application could be rejected or result in the loss of an automatic right to make financial claims. An application to finalise the divorce too early can result in the loss of other financial rights, such as pension entitlements. 

There are routinely wider issues to resolve, such as child arrangements and finances. Divorce itself does not deal with any of these issues. Even after divorce, parties have the right to make financial claims against each other. 

I’ve heard of a no-fault divorce – how does it work? What is the process? 

Since 06 April 2022 “no fault divorce” has been possible. There is no longer the need to be separated for 2 or 5 years or to make allegations of fault against your spouse. 

Divorce applications can be made jointly with your spouse, or a sole application can be made if you prefer. It is not possible for your spouse to defend the divorce proceedings and the divorce cannot be finalised sooner than 26 weeks after the divorce application has been issued by the court. 

An outline of the divorce process can be found here.

Where do I start with sorting out the division of our finances? 

There are two very distinct phases of resolving matrimonial finances, the initial short-term (usually income related situation) and the longer-term situation. 

For more details, please click here. 

We have agreed how to divide finances, do I still need a solicitor? 

Being able to agree how to divide finances with your spouse often makes for a more amicable, swift, and cost-effective solution. However, simply reaching an agreement cannot give parties a clean break, which means that either party could make an application to the court to consider finances at a later date. The only way to ensure a clean break is to turn your agreement into an order of the court. 

Child arrangements – what do I need to consider and what is a “usual” arrangement? 

The two main considerations for your child/ren upon separation are usually, who they will live with (formerly known as residence), and who they will spend time with (formerly known as contact or access).

There will be so many questions going through your mind, so please take some time and click the link below where you will find some of the answers to your questions.  

Q&As on our website in relation to separating couples/families. 

We know a separation is one of the hardest experiences you’ll ever have to face. The decisions you make now will determine your family’s future, so it’s important that you seek the best legal advice to help you move forward and make the right decisions.  

We are here to assist you through this difficult and emotional process. We can guide you as to the best way forward, contact us to arrange an appointment. You can either call us on 0121 451 1661 or complete a short form on our website and a member of our family team will get in touch with you.