Family breakdowns: does it have to be a financial apocalypse?

The end of a marriage or civil partnership is a hard time whether you are the person who makes the decision or is on the receiving end of it. Many people feel angry, sad, frustrated and any other emotion you can name.

Divorce and dissolutions and the associated financial matters can be very expensive, but they don’t have to be as expensive as you might think. There are many different routes to a financial settlement, several of which won’t require anyone to physically step inside a court building.

Ask yourself (and ask your ex too if you can) which of these images you prefer:


Now think of your financial outcomes in similar terms – which picture would you prefer for your finances?

The first cost-saving you can make is getting a sensible and good quality lawyer on board whether they are a qualified solicitor or legal executive. There are lots of family lawyers out there who seem to pride themselves on being the most aggressive. That will usually translate to them also being some of the most expensive because an aggressive approach usually leads to extra work and extra distress all around.

If you would like to:

  • Keep your costs at a reasonable level
  • Have a working relationship in the future with your ex (perhaps because you share children, perhaps because you share friends)
  • Not feel a sense of dread every time your lawyer writes to you with something from your ex’s lawyers

Then there are some simple tips:

  • However cross or hurt you might feel, try not to view things as a fight with the ex. The moment you think of it in these terms, someone has to “lose”. What we want is to try and help you (both) achieve a fair outcome not a total knockout with a massive headache.
  • Find a lawyer who doesn’t pride themselves on an aggressive reputation: it is not their personal dispute. They should not be behaving as though it is a fight for them to win but encouraging you to work towards a fair outcome.
  • Fairness isn’t always equal.
  • Look at the Resolution code of practice and ensure your lawyer meets it
  • See if your lawyer can advise you about the various out-of-court methods of sorting things out as well as going to court. These will include mediation, negotiation, collaborative law, private court hearings, arbitration and even court applications by agreement.
  • Remember to consider your reactions. It can be tough not to retaliate, but think about the bigger picture. Ask yourself, “What will it accomplish?” Short-term satisfaction with a snarky response will soon taper off when the legal bills come in for the emails it generates.

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