Plans have recently been announced to roll out a new online procedure for getting divorced. The announcement comes after a 10 month pilot scheme that has been undertaken in the East Midlands Divorce Unit in Nottingham.
Although the option of an online divorce will no doubt sound appealing, it will in many cases leave people at risk of not only failing to understand the process, but also potentially cause mistakes to be made. This in turn will delay the divorce and result in increased fees.
Consulting an experienced family lawyer at an early stage can help to identify all of the important issues that will also need to be resolved alongside your divorce, many of which you may not have even considered.
For example, what assets should be considered when reaching an agreement with regard to financial matters? There may be assets that one party acquired before the marriage or inheritance received and you may need advice about whether these can be taken into consideration. Although the starting point for dividing assets is often believed to be a 50:50 split, in many cases this is not appropriate. You may have a greater housing need or young children to care for and factors such as there can all be reasons to depart from splitting assets on an equal basis.
Establishing the value of assets can be difficult and trying to resolve matters without having a clear idea of the values can mean that you lose out. There may be properties or businesses that need expert valuations, or there may be liquidity or Capital Gains Tax considerations.
You should also seek advice about the impact upon any existing Will and the effect of one party moving out of the family home. One aspect of divorce that is rarely considered until consulting with a professional is the effect of divorce upon pension provision. In a recent report, 71% of divorcing couples said that they had not considered pension provision when approaching divorce. A pension within a marriage is an important asset that must be carefully considered before you proceed with divorce.
As you can see, although divorce may appear a straightforward process, there is much more to consider than just the paperwork required for the divorce itself.
If you have sought advice from the outset, this will help you to be clear about the options available to you and will allow you to make informed decisions about the way forward. We understand that resolving family matters can be difficult and will advise you about the different approaches that can be taken such as mediation or following the Collaborative Law process.
If you are thinking of separating and would like to discuss how we can help you to resolve matters then please contact our family team for an initial discussion.