What is Your New Year’s Resolution? Family law

The New Year is a good time to take stock of all aspects of your life. This includes looking at your relationship and your personal life.

January is a busy time for family solicitors because clients having reassessed their relationship and family life over the festive season and decided that change is required.

If you determine that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, you will need to consider whether to issue a divorce petition and when. Whilst this will ultimately bring about the end of your marriage, it is the first step to resolving financial matters and to bring about certainty moving forwards. Our experience is that it is helpful to have a strategy in place.

Children are resilient and if both parents tell them together and reinforce the same message that they love them and they will have a home with each of them, they will accept the changed family dynamics.

It is often the case that a certain standard of living during your marriage is not achievable in the future because the same level of income will be required to support two separate households instead of one. The primary concern of the court is that the children are rehoused in suitable accommodation, which may mean that the parent the children live with will receive a higher proportion of the matrimonial assets. It is a balancing act for the court to achieve a fair outcome for the family.

You will need to consider how you wish to resolve financial matters. If you have complex financial arrangements perhaps including a business, one or more properties and various pension policies you are advised to issue a financial application for the court to assist in resolving financial matters. Alternatively, a process of financial disclosure via solicitors could be suggested, although it will only be cost-efficient if you both engage in the process in a timely way. Mediation is another option whereby discussions are facilitated by a trained mediator. However, an agreement reached in mediation is not binding and must be reflected in a consent order to be binding.

If matters are only partially dealt with, for instance the family home sold and proceeds distributed, there is an opportunity for your spouse to make a claim in the future for example with regard to your pension or your income and there will be no clean-break in place. A clean-break will ensure that your spouse cannot make a claim against you in the future with regard to your marriage.

If you are contemplating divorce the key is to seek legal advice at an early stage in order that all aspects are dealt with in a timely way, your expectations are managed and you have an overall strategy. Taking advice to achieve the right outcome for you is an investment in your future.

For more advice contact Susanne Leach on 01562 820575 or email sleach@thursfields.co.uk

Thursfields award winning Family law solicitors are available at any of our offices and surrounding areas –Birmingham, Worcester, Kidderminster, Solihull, and Halesowen.

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