Amongst the legal profession, ‘divorce day’ is known as the first working Monday in January, when family law firms are reportedly at their busiest from a surge in queries from couples wanting a divorce after the Christmas period.
There are a variety of theories as to why this happens, the most obvious being that after spending a larger-than-usual amount of time together during the festivities, couples realise that they are no longer right for each other. Whilst to some extent this can be true, it is likely that many of the requests for advice law firms receive in January, are from couples who have been having problems for some time and have just put off taking action until after the Christmas break.
When it comes to divorce, it’s the financial side of things that can often take the most time to settle. Usually, court should be the last, not the first, option, as it can be costly and time-consuming.
For couples who want to avoid remembering 2017 for lengthy court battles, here are three ways to reach a divorce agreement and settle your finances outside of court:
An independent third party will sit down with you and your spouse to talk through your finances and try to help you to come to an agreement. A mediator is not there to offer advice but is there to aid discussion and make sure both you and your spouse has a say.
Once you have reached a divorce agreement, your mediator will then draw up a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ to take back to your solicitor, who can then prepare the legal papers.
Normally, your solicitor would negotiate with your spouse’s solicitor via letter or over the telephone.
The collaborative law process works by both you and your spouse appointing your own solicitor. Your solicitors, together with you and your spouse, will then meet face-to-face and negotiate your financial settlement. This direct communication can sometimes help people to reach a divorce agreement.
This is the more traditional method that some couples use to work out their financial settlement, which involves solicitors negotiating directly with each other, via telephone or post.
Alternatively, some couples choose to negotiate between themselves, without the aid of their solicitors. Although this can work for some people, emotions can run high and it can be difficult to reach an agreement without the help of a third party, especially when there are complex finances involved.
The advice of an experienced solicitor can be invaluable, whether or not you think that you may need to ask a court to decide your financial settlement. It’s important to note that once you’ve come to a decision about your finances, you’ll need to get a court order to make it financially binding.
By using the processes above, you may be able to come to a divorce agreement with your spouse about your finances and make 2017 a year you’ll remember for all of the right reasons.
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