It makes the world go around. It can’t buy you love. The Flying Lizards wanted it. (That’s one for those old enough to know good music). Yep, money.
When it comes to families separating and moving into two households, the financial impact of that can be stressful, frightening and confusing all in one go. So what to do?
First step, I think, is to keep in mind the aim of trying to reach an agreement in sorting out the money and property. You have what you have. No court can make it more than you have and to my mind, it is better to keep as much of your family money within your family for your family to use and enjoy rather than spending it on legal fees and court fees.
There was a case where a judge (and I paraphrase here) commented that the best agreement is one that both parties are equally miserable about. Interesting- and it gives some insight into the nature of compromise. Each of you have to give a bit.
Second step I think is information. The very first thing is to work out what you have and what it is worth. You have to know that before you can work out how it should be divided. And I am not talking about vague, approximate figures. I am saying concrete figures, backed up with documents that are up to date. Oh, and can I insert a Step 2 (b) here…. Get yourself an arch lever folder with some dividers and put your papers in it, in date order, earliest date to latest date. If you are digital (hello, you are my people) then put it in electronic files, sorted and labelled.
There are often people I meet who do not have that information to hand. There is no shame in that. In any relationship or partnership, ‘jobs’ are divided. That can be who puts out the bins (hands down for that one) or it could be who manages the savings accounts. It will all come out in the wash. There has to be openness. To anyone reading this and thinking of perhaps putting money somewhere, please don’t. It won’t help you and it is likely to cost you more. Also, not being honest is never a good way to go.
Third step – and don’t poo-poo until you read on – get some basic, initial legal advice. Friends and family mean well but this is a fast paced technical and mainly discretionary area of law. It is also really particular to your own situation. That means Fred’s divorce 4 years ago will not be the same as yours. Also, you are not Fred. Your reactions and views are different. Your family is different. Get some initial legal advice for you. It won’t be an absolute answer from top to bottom but it is a good place to start. It also can take away some of your fear or anxiety. That makes the journey easier to deal with.
Last step – for this blog post anyway – work out what your picture looks like. By that I mean, what next for you? For your children? Your family set up is changing, right? What will the new set up look like? Think about that and think about how you can make that real for you. Don’t be inflexible about it but have an idea of your future. Oh, and make sure you tell your solicitor what you are hoping to achieve.
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