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Dealing with divorce

Lawyers up and down the country will agree that they typically see an increase in new enquiries regarding divorce and separation following the Christmas holidays. Indeed the first working Monday of January, is commonly referred to as ‘Divorce Day’.

The Office for National Statistics claims that 42 per cent of all marriages end in divorce. The harsh reality is that a spouse’s decision to start that process is often after a holiday period, whether that be the Christmas or summer holidays.

Whilst enquiries may increase after the holiday period, with the right advice it doesn’t have to mean a surge in court applications and divorce petitions; importance must be placed on assisting individuals to navigate through the aftermath in the least litigious way possible.

It is becoming more and more common for couples to plan ahead in case of a separation. Whilst that may sound rather unromantic, such planning can remove the uncertainty of separation when it comes to dividing assets and dealing with jointly owned property.

Appropriately prepared Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial agreements are becoming well recognised by the Courts as a means of protecting one’s finances and assets on separation in a realistic and conscientious way.

Similarly, as more couples choose not to marry, cohabitation agreements can be used in a similar way to protect each party’s financial interests should that relationship break down.

On separation there are now a wide range of options available to individuals aimed at reducing the anxiety and animosity the court proceedings can bring.

Indeed, at Ward Hadaway our divorce solicitors are able to offer advice under the Collaborative Law scheme whereby parties come together with their lawyers, to try and reach agreements outside of the court forum.

Whilst this is not for every separating couple, it can effectively be used to allow parties to face each other in dealing with the fall-out from separation whilst enabling a relationship to be maintained on the other side.

Mediation is discussed in all cases, not only in terms of trying to save relationships, but to also help the parties navigate towards a settlement of the marital finances and any disputes regarding children.

So whilst the New Year may unfortunately see the arrival of Divorce Day, the right advice can help to take some of the stress out of a difficult situation.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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