If you’re thinking of getting a divorce, then the chances are you’re feeling pretty conflicted.
Even if you know it’s the right thing to do and all parties involved are amicable, it’s still a huge life change and one which you will need to consider carefully before starting proceedings.
If your mind is made up then you will need to visit a solicitor in the first instance to file for divorce. And while they will appreciate it can be a difficult and emotional time, they will focus on the practical elements of putting a legal end to your marriage.
So it’s a good idea to go in armed with some idea of what they might ask you. The top five things solicitors need to know before filing for divorce are:
1. Are you married?
This may sound strange, but many couples who live together believe they are ‘common-law’ husbands and wives. But in fact there is no such thing as a common-law husband or wife and the financial claims cohabitees and married couples have against one another are very different.
2. Do you have your marriage certificate?
The marriage certificate is needed to start divorce proceedings. Don’t panic if you don’t have it as you can get a certified copy from the Central Register. But it’s worth bearing in mind that if you can’t put your hands on the certificate at home this may mean that your spouse has already taken it with a view to starting proceedings.
3. Do you have children?
Minor children will be the family court’s first consideration in any divorce proceedings. This includes making sure they are provided for financially, and protecting their best interests in all areas.
4. What do you want the outcome to be?
Start thinking about your future housing, whether you want to stay in the family home or, if not, how much a new property might cost. Also think about how much money to think you would need to meet your income needs each month.
5. Do you have a good understanding of your and your spouse’s finances?
Don’t worry if you not, financial disclosure forms part of the divorce process and you will both have to disclose your respective finances. But any information you’re able to provide will help your solicitor advise you early on about possible outcomes. If you have a pension it is worth applying for the Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) as soon as possible as some pension providers can take several weeks or months to produce this.
By thinking about these questions on a practical level and doing a little preparation before you see your solicitor, you can make sure proceedings get off to a smooth start – which is in everyone’s best interests.
The Lester Aldridge family team deal with these and other issues on a regular basis and are frequently instructed by clients regarding divorce proceedings.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of separation, arrangements for your children or wish to protect your assets prior to getting married, contact the family team on 01202 786161 or email [email protected]