On the first working Monday of the year, many people contact family lawyers and visit websites like Advicenow, which offer a variety of free online help on family matters.
Tensions often escalate over Christmas, and this year – with all the added stress and strains of COVID – even more families are likely to be boiled over.
When in this boat, you are not alone (although it feels like it).
Advicenow, Part of the legal charity Law For Life, urges couples considering divorce this year of all places to consider these five tips.
Advicenow offers plenty of free online help for people at all stages of separation and divorce. Advicenow also gives you access to a group of attorneys who offer affordable advice at fixed fees so you can see clearly where you stand from the start.
As family law expert Beth Kirkland explains, you can potentially avoid the stress and expense of divorce by following Advicenow’s tips.
“This year, with the added difficulties for couples and courts caused by COVID, it is more important than ever to reduce the stress of divorce as much as possible.”
“Understanding how and when to deal with each problem helps both of you.”
“If you can make arrangements between you about children, money, and property, you don’t have to go to court. We have plenty of free help to show you what to watch out for and do at every step.”
If you are contemplating a divorce, these five tips will help you overcome the worst.
1. Accept that it will take a while
Once you’ve decided to break up, you may feel like you want to settle everything right away, or you may not feel ready at all.
Often times, you and your future ex will feel completely different about this – try to be patient with each other.
You both need to get used to the fact that your future is different.
It won’t come right overnight – but you will.
2. Think about when to get a divorce
At this time, you cannot file for divorce together even if you both believe the marriage or civil partnership has ended. One of you has to divorce the other.
But the government is changing this law so that one partner no longer has to be to blame.
We expect this option to be available this fall.
For many people, it may be better to wait and file for divorce after the new law comes into effect.
3. Avoid dish if you can
When the adults concerned go to court, they are injured, stressed and poorer.
You could spend the money you would spend going to court to make your children’s lives and your own more comfortable.
Often times, children can be upset too, even if you take care not to involve them directly.
After COVID, dishes are backlogged so you will likely have to wait longer than before.
Therefore, it is usually best to reach an agreement between you, use a family placement service or an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
Either way you do it, you both have to compromise.
4. Know the basics of the law
The law doesn’t set any strict rules or use a mathematical formula to sort your finances if you get divorced.
This is because people’s financial situation is so different that it would be very difficult to make rules for each situation.
Instead, you need to use the case-by-case rule of law to find out what is fair.
If you and your ex are trying to negotiate how to share what you have between them or use family placement services, the court expects you to take these principles into account.
5. Do not exclude your pension from the division of your wealth
“Assets” are anything you have other than income – things that are worth money, like houses, cars, valuable jewelry, investments, savings, and pensions.
Many couples skip their pensions when deciding how to split their money and property – and this can be a huge mistake.
There’s no denying that it’s a bit complicated, but if you don’t include pensions, you are very unlikely to come to a fair settlement.
Studies show that women in particular are often in unnecessarily precarious financial circumstances in later life.
Advicenow will be releasing a new guide later this month to show you how to manage your pensions. Advicenow’s Beth Kirkland explains, “It’s really important not to put it off or ignore it. All of the uncertainty we’ve faced this year makes it even more important. Your future self will be grateful for that. “