Of course you would expect me to say ‘it’s not advisable to try to deal with a divorce without proper legal advice’ But I’m not saying this solely to encourage the involvement of lawyers but for very good reason.
With the loss of legal aid financial support for almost all divorce matters there has been an increase in the number of people who are tempted to organise their own divorce without any professional advice.
Obtaining a ‘divorce’ is rarely as simple as making the paper applications to court for a decree nisi/ absolute. This will ‘divorce’ a couple but it will not provide any financial protection for the future nor any certainty as to decision making regarding children. It really is critical that all the loose ends are tied up at the time of divorce in order to prevent any difficulties at a later date.
The reason why I am writing about this topic this month is that recently I saw a potential new client who was divorced many years ago and had made a success of life moving on alone. After nearly 20 years the previous spouse returned to make a financial claim against the assets, albeit they had been in place at the time of the divorce, but these had increased considerably in value. My client had thought that the divorce was behind her. It is possible that couples think ‘we have no great assets’ and therefore the possibility for a financial claim is not dealt with.
Unless you close the financial door it remains open for a claim at any time into the future!
The second issue that I see a lot, relates to responsibility for the children of a marriage. It is usual that where there are children that alongside obtaining ‘a divorce’ we determine who will have care of the children and more importantly who will make the decisions relating to the children e.g. which school they will attend, where will they live, what religion they will follow, perhaps what name they will be known by – the list in this area is almost endless.
I see couples who are able to agree on week-to-week ‘contact’ (now known as ‘living arrangements’) and forget that as their children get older or circumstances change for one or other of the couple, different and additional decisions will need to be made.
Without clear agreement about responsibility for the children which is set up for the period until the children reach maturity disputes can arise many years after the divorce is finalised.
If you would like to reassure yourself that you have not left ‘the financial door open’ or that you will definitely have a say in the decisions made about your children’s future then take advantage of our free initial interview and talk this through with us.
For further information contact Angela Moores.
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