What Should I Do If My Partner Wants A Divorce?
Discussing Divorce and Cost Considerations.
Being told by your husband or wife that they want a divorce can be deeply distressing, especially if the announcement came ‘out of the blue’. Understandably, you will almost certainly feel uncertain about what the future may hold for you and your children. You may also have many unanswered questions, such as how will you come to arrangements for your children, where will you live, how will your money and assets be split, and how will you afford to live? Thankfully, by taking early and pragmatic action, there is much you can do to ensure that your emotional and practical needs, and those of your children, are met once the divorce process is over. In this article, we will explain some of the key steps that you can take if your spouse wants a divorce, considering the cost of divorce.
1. Legal Representation and Addressing the Desire for Divorce.
Get legal representation from a divorce Solicitor.
One of the most practical steps you can take right now is to get yourself a trusted divorce Solicitor. There is a strong chance that your partner may already have sought legal representation, and if so, they will understand their legal position; you need to do the same. Your divorce law Solicitor will guide you through the legal process, answering all of your questions, and providing much-needed certainty regarding your children, money, and property. By seeking legal advice as early as possible, you can relax knowing that your interests and those of your children will be protected. If you're concerned about the cost of divorce, discuss this with your Solicitor upfront.
2. Prioritise the needs of your children.
It goes without saying that it is vital that you focus on the needs of your children first and foremost. As soon as you can, speak to your partner about arrangements for your children. It is generally preferable to come to an amicable agreement between yourselves if possible. If you can reach an agreement, ask your Solicitor to have the terms put in writing. By doing so, the agreement will be enforceable by the courts if your partner later decides not to honour what they have agreed to.’
If you cannot reach an agreement with your partner, mediation or another alternative dispute resolution may prove highly effective. Alternatively, your Solicitor can negotiate a suitable child arrangement on your behalf. If you still cannot reach an agreement, your Solicitor will apply to the court for a Child Arrangement Order. In this case, a judge will make the ultimate decision on who your children will spend time with, when, and for how long.
It is also important to consider how much you need in the form of child maintenance payments to ensure you can meet your children's living expenses after divorce. Your Solicitor will explain how child maintenance is determined and how much you can expect to receive from your partner after divorce.
3. Think about your financial future.
At this stage, it is important to understand both your financial situation and needs. This is especially so if you are a financially less well-off partner because you may need spousal maintenance payments to help cover your living costs. Spousal maintenance may be paid for a limited amount of time, or until one party dies, marries or enters into a new civil partnership. It may also be possible to have the order varied in the future if one person loses their job or receives a larger salary.
Alternatively, where appropriate, you may want to seek a clean break. If there is a clean break between you and your partner, no spousal maintenance payments will be made. To achieve a clean break, it may be possible for the financially better off person to ‘buy out’ the financially less better off person in the form of a lump sum payment.
As part of the financial disclosure process, in order to reach an agreement regarding your finances following divorce, you will need to start gathering information about your financial situation. This includes your income, marital and non-marital assets and property, debts, investments, and business interests. Assessing the cost of divorce and planning for your financial future is crucial during this phase.
4. Communicate with your partner throughout the divorce process.
Even though you are divorcing, it is normally better to maintain a civil and respectful relationship with your ex. This is important for the emotional health of your children and also to ensure that any agreement is both fair and likely to be honoured in the long term. It will ensure that should your circumstances change (e.g. if you lose your job), or those of your ex-spouse, you are more likely to work together and reach a new arrangement without the need for court intervention. Clear and open communication will also help to speed up your legal proceedings, saving you and your ex-partner time and money.