Is divorce the best step?

A marriage break-up can be very upsetting and so can the subsequent divorce.

When it becomes clear that the relationship is badly broken, divorce is often the first thing in everyone’s mind. It’s a way of channelling the anger and resentment into something legal and permanent. Getting divorced will undo the marriage and resolve everything soon, won’t it?

Well, no.

Despite the hype about celebrities getting a ‘quickie’ divorce it’s not actually that quick in practice.

Divorce is not the only – or necessarily the best – way forward.

The only legal reason for a divorce is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken down’ but to prove that you have to prove one of the 5 facts.

You can find out more about the divorce process by downloading our fact sheet here:-

Divorce factsheet

However, you don’t have to get divorced straight away to get things settled. There is an alternative and it’s called a Separation Agreement.

This is a formal document drawn up by a Solicitor which can be rubber-stamped in any later divorce proceedings. It says who gets what now and in the foreseeable future. It’s well worth looking into, especially if you want to sort out your financial arrangements now rather than when you eventually get a divorce.

It isn’t right for everyone but it can be very helpful, depending on your circumstances. It can cover such things as the family home, savings and money in the bank; cars and possessions and, most importantly, child maintenance payments.

If you’re looking to formally share a pension with your ex, then it won’t be for you as you will need a Pension Sharing Order made in divorce.

However, it doesn’t stop you receiving a lump sum now in lieu of a pension share. Both sides need to be truthful about their present financial situation. If not, your ex could ask the court to reconsider the finances at some time in the future.

A Separation Agreement should be considered if you don’t want to face the finality of a divorce straight away.

It’s tricky stuff. If you think you’d be better off for now with a Separation Agreement as a first step or you’re being asked to sign one, it’s important to get advice from a specialist family solicitor.

If you need any help or advice about Separation Agreements or Divorce then the family team at Chafes Hague Lambert offer free initial appointments at all of our offices. To make an appointment call the office that is most suitable to you.

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