13 December, 2018
The first working Monday of the New Year has been dubbed "Divorce Day" by the press, as it is claimed to be the busiest day of the year for family lawyers, with unhappy couples queuing up to formally end their marriage - but is this just a myth?
Whilst the idea of people queuing up to end their marriage is certainly a myth, our specialist family lawyers still find that January is one of their busiest months. However, most people instructing a solicitor in January will have been contemplating divorce or separation for some time, and may have even been in touch with a solicitor before Christmas to take some initial advice. January is a time for Resolutions and new starts in life, which is often the prompt people need to take action.
When contemplating separation or divorce, one of the main considerations for couples with children is how the separation will affect the children. As such, couples often wait until after Christmas to formally separate. It is important to try to reduce the impact of divorce and separation on the children, and agreeing arrangements is one of the main decisions to make. Consideration needs to be given as to where the children shall live, and how much time they spend with each parent. Whatever the reasons for the divorce it is important that parents put the children first and consider their lives post-divorce too. If an agreement is not reached, a solicitor can guide parents through the process, with practical legal advice. The Court does not get involved if the parents manage to reach an agreement as to how much time the children spend with each parent. If an agreement cannot be reached, the parents can try to resolve their differences through mediation. If mediation doesn't work, then an application to court will be made, although there are some exceptions to this.
There will also be important decisions to be made regarding finances, housing, and any business interests. Taking advice from a solicitor early in the process will help individuals know what their entitlement to the assets is likely to be. It is possible to reach an amicable agreement without having to go to court, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. If an agreement cannot be reached, again differences can try to be resolved through mediation, but ultimately an application to court needs to be made if no agreement is reached. A key issue for some couples is who will live in the matrimonial home, and where the other party will live. Questions such as "can I keep the house?" are often at the forefront of people's minds. There may be other assets, pensions, or inheritance monies to consider too.
Whatever the circumstances, separating and divorcing can be a stressful and difficult time for the family. Taking legal advice early and being guided through the process will ensure you receive a fair outcome and help to reduce the impact on any children.