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How to prepare for a divorce?

View profile for Katie Phillips
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It maybe you are reading this, having just had a conversation with your spouse about separation. Maybe you are reading this blog in anticipation of starting a divorce yourself, but not knowing what the first steps are. We are often asked how people can prepare themselves for a divorce, in a financial sense.

I always advise clients, as is required by the Court, that there should be openness, transparency, and honesty in relation to a financial position. There should not be any attempt by either party to deceive the Court, conceal assets, or mislead the other party regarding the financial position.

Some clients have assets which they would consider to be “non-matrimonial” i.e. assets which they would consider theirs, but not their spouses. This may include an inheritance, or assets that were acquired prior to the relationship, and not shared with the spouse. This information and these assets must be disclosed as part of the overall process.

When preparing for a divorce, it is important to start to collect your financial information. One crucial element is the disclosure of pensions. Often the pension providers can take up to 3 - 4 months to provide valuations for these. Within divorce proceedings, we require Cash Equivalent Values (also known as CEVs) in relation to all pensions. Therefore, one of the best steps clients can take at an early stages is to request copies of the CEVs for all pensions held, regardless of when they may have been built up, as this can speed up the disclosure process.

It can often help to work through your CV, and identify which pension you built up during the various jobs. This can be an important task to undertake early on.

In relation to other elements for preparing for the divorce, a more practical approach may be locating the Marriage Certificate. An electronic copy is submitted to the Court as part of the divorce process, and if you cannot locate the original, then a copy can be obtained through the General Registry Office. There is a small fee for this, or our in-house expert, Mel Haslam, can obtain this for you.

One further element for consideration at the outset is how the matter will be funded. Do you have savings which will cover the disclosure and subsequent negotiations, or will you be borrowing money from a friend or family member? If you are going to be borrowing money, it is important this is recorded in a formal agreement, detailing matters such as when the monies would be repaid, whether interest if payable, and whether any amount is to be paid back in the meantime.

If a loan or a credit card is going to be taken for the legal costs, this is something that can be done at the outset so that the money is showing at the financial disclosure stage. This financial disclosure should take place reasonably early on within the matter, so that the financial negotiations can take place thereafter. It is always advisable that there is financial disclosure, as without it, you could be making a decision about your spouse’s finances without full information.

You may also be concerned about how to prepare mentally for a divorce, and the journey that is ahead. A divorce is not started without careful consideration and a lot of hard work in the marriage. At Brethertons we have an in house counsellor, Liz Headley, who can support you through the process, and even meet with you (in person or remotely) before you commence divorce proceedings. Our clients often report to us that her support is invaluable.

At Brethertons, we want to support you both in terms of your finances, and emotional wellbeing, and laying the groundwork at the outset can often help smooth the process.  


Consult our divorce solicitors in Banbury, Bicester and Rugby

If you would like to speak to a solicitor with expertise in guiding individuals through divorce and separation, please get in touch with a member of our team.

We have offices in BanburyBicester and Rugby, working with clients across Coventry and Warwickshire, the West Midlands, Oxfordshire and nationwide.