Three years after the referendum the UK still can’t figure out its divorce from the EU. Likewise, three years after Brad and Angelina split, they’re still working out the financial arrangements of their divorce.
So, how can divorcing couples stop the same happening to them and ensure their split is as straight forward as possible? We spoke to Selena Arbe-Barnes, family solicitor at Winckworth Sherwood who’s breaking down what to do when life doesn’t go according to plan.
No divorce is going to be entirely pain-free. We can’t underestimate the emotional and financial strain. So, as you disentangle your life from your spouse’s and find your place in the world, it’s important for both parties to ensure they remain in a strong financial position.
Selena shares with us a number of things to do when negotiating to place your best foot forward.
Draw on the support of your tribe
Having a support network around you is essential to get you through the most testing moments of your relationship breakdown and, eventually, the happy ones. You will be able to draw strength from friends and family to manage negotiations with your spouse.
Information is key
Seeking out solution-focused legal advice is a worthwhile investment to establish what your options are. While advice from family and friends is comforting, avoid misinformed guidance. No two families are the same and everyone’s experiences will be different. Speak to a relevant professional about your specific circumstances to ensure you are receiving tailored advice.
Do your homework
When negotiating a financial settlement, you are planning to secure your future. You’ll need a resolution that helps to address your needs. In terms of where to live after, as well as your noting your relationship history and contributions to the marriage. Think carefully about what you (and your children) are going to need. Visit properties you could potentially live in and work out what a payment plan if needed. How does this compare with what you, or your spouse, earnings? This information is vital in pulling together informed proposals.
Keeping matters out of court
Our court system is under the most pressure it’s ever been, and there can be huge delays in getting a court date to move matters forward (not to mention the expense involved). Negotiating a financial settlement without ever having to litigate should always be the first port of call. Preferably, try to achieve an outcome best for you and your spouse, rather than a judge. There are other alternatives if traditional negotiation loses momentum, such as; round table meetings with your spouse and your solicitors, or you can agree to private proceedings or arbitration. These are other forums where matters can be resolved swiftly and pragmatically.
Check in with yourself
Sorting out finances can be incredibly stressful and establishing certainty in your future often becomes the priority over anything else especially if kids are involved. Once the dust settles, check in with yourself. Have you dealt with your grief and started to heal? Maybe seek support from a counsellor or therapist who can guide you through your emotional journey and help you find strength to live the rest of your life to the fullest.