There are many things to consider when getting a divorce. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it may just enable you to be prepared for an initial consultation with one of our lawyers.
Do you consider your marriage has broken down irretrievably and is irreparable? If you answered yes to this question, then it may be a good idea to take legal advice in respect of divorce. Here at Andrew Isaacs Law, we offer a no obligation fixed fee appointment for £120.
If you are of the decision you wish to divorce, then you must first consider if you are eligible for a divorce.
If you have children and are thinking of divorcing then feelings of worry, guilt and uncertainty become amplified. The welfare of your children is the courts’ paramount consideration. However, divorce does not directly deal with the arrangements for your children. You and your spouse are expected to try to agree the arrangements for your children between yourselves; if this is not possible there are alternatives to court available and court applications should be a last resort.
If you have any fears for yours, or your children’s safety you must seek professional help immediately.
When thinking of divorcing, consider what arrangements you would like for the children and seek to discuss this with your spouse as soon as you can. A divorce should not mean that you can no longer co-parent or discuss arrangements amicably in respect of the children. The children require stability and routine and therefore keeping them protected from the divorce proceedings is very important. Do not allow the children to be a witness to disputes or embroiled in arguments.
You must consider which reason you wish to rely on for your divorce. There is one ground for divorce and that is that the marriage has irretrievably broken down.
The five reasons you can rely on are:
Our lawyers can help you to determine which reason is the most relevant to your matter.
To start divorce proceedings, you need to have an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate. If you have lost or misplaced your marriage certificate a new one can be ordered online. If the marriage certificate is no longer where it was kept, it may be that your spouse has taken it to start divorce proceedings.
You must remember that divorce and finances are different. You can get divorced without touching on finances, but you must consider the risks of not finalising your finances.
There are an awful lot of things to consider when it comes to finances but in the first instance it would be sensible to collate the following information:
It is important that you are aware of your financial situation before you start asking for information regarding your spouse’s financial situation.
If you have any joint bank accounts, it may be worth checking the status of them and try to avoid having any overdraft facilities on them. The problem with overdrafts on joint accounts is that your spouse could run up debt that you remain jointly responsible for.
Disclosure that you provide in financial proceedings is to be full and frank disclosure and therefore it is highly advised that you do not attempt to dissipate assets or put them beyond the reach of your spouse as this could result in you looking unreasonable to the court.
It is also important to consider what impact your actions can have on your future. Should you move out of the family home and decide you no longer want to contribute towards the mortgage then you must consider if that mortgage were to go into arrears as your spouse may well default on it, then it will impact your credit score for the future.
If you find yourself in a situation where your spouse has always maintained the mortgage and bills but they have all of a sudden withdrawn from the same, then seek legal advice as there may be an interim order available to you to order the spouse to continue providing the financial support that they had previously.
Always take legal advice before committing yourself to making monthly payments to your spouse. You may find yourself committing to a financial situation due to moral obligation or guilt which could potentially impact any future financial settlement.
If you own property and wish to continue owning property with the assistance of a mortgage, then it is important to obtain some independent mortgage advice. It may be that you wish to take on the property in your sole name so you may need to ask your mortgage provider if that is a possibility. You may need to speak with a mortgage advisor to see what your borrowing capacity is.
It is important that you change any passwords to emails and personal banking or anything that your spouse may be able to access or guess your passwords to where you may not want them to access.
Legally your house contents are considered chattels and are generally perceived as being jointly owned. It would save costs, arguments, and possible disappointment if you and your spouse can seek to agree how to split your contents between you, without the involvement of solicitors or court. Solicitors can certainly help you but if you have agreed what is to be each of yours and are able to resolve this amicably, then try to do so.
The same applies for pets. The court views pets as property. If you cannot agree who should keep the family pets then the courts would look at who purchased the pet, paid the vets’ bills and food. To try and save disappointment of a judge simply awarding you or your spouse the beloved pet, then it is best to try to agree at the outset and possibly even agree to share the pet.
It is important to consider how you will be funding your divorce. At Andrew Isaacs we do not offer Legal Aid and therefore your matter must be funded privately. You may be able to seek a costs order against your spouse, but this is generally limited to the costs of your divorce and not the financial matters.
You may have savings to fund your divorce, you may need to borrow from friends and family, or you may require a bank loan.
Always ask your solicitor for a costs estimate. At Andrew Isaacs we do not offer fixed fees, but we will certainly give you a costs estimate. Just note that every divorce is different.
When divorcing, and in particular when making financial arrangements court should always be the final consideration. There are always alternatives to court if you and your spouse can agree.
You should always give some consideration to mediation. There is collaborative law to consider, or your solicitor can seek to resolve issues via correspondence.
You may wish to deal with your divorce without instructing a solicitor and file your application online if you are confident in what you are doing. Please bear in mind though, we are experts in our field for a reason.
You must ask yourself what you are hoping to achieve from your divorce. If you are looking for your marriage to be legally ended then you have the right intentions, however if you are seeking justice then you will not be satisfied with the outcome.
Divorce is not a form of punishment for a spouse who has behaved poorly throughout a marriage. Therefore, unless your spouse has behaved in a very extreme way, then no justice by way of a reflective financial settlement will be made. The court seek to be fair and equal when reaching a financial settlement and therefore they will not punish a spouses’ bad behaviour and you will not feel justice has been served.
There is no such thing as a winning party in divorce.
Always seek legal advice that is tailored and specific to you. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our lawyers at Andrew Isaacs Law.