New Year Resolutions for the (recently) separated…

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I appreciate that the Christmas and New Year period is usually one of excitement and celebration. This is however not the case for every family and pressures and stress can lead to breakdown within the relationship.

I was just listening to a podcast where somebody’s husband left her on Boxing Day! If you are going through separation or divorce this New Year, you may feel lost and vulnerable. The following resolutions are suggested to help you move forward:

1: Ensure that you put the needs of your children first: Any relationship breakdown is upsetting and particularly when there are children involved. You need to ensure that you agree with your partner what to say to the children and whether this can be done together.

The children will be upset and will need to know that you both love them and that your role as a parent won’t change. If they struggle to comprehend what is happening there are agencies who can help and provide support. Most schools will also have excellent pastoral care to help the children during this difficult time.

2: Don’t put off getting good advice: When relationships break down everybody will give you advice and it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost. You may also initially be concerned about the potential cost of legal advice.

The first thing I would suggest is to take advantage of our free initial consultation. When you are in the middle of so much change, just being able to talk to a friendly, experienced Family Lawyer can really help.

We will talk you through all your options in plain English, offer practical, realistic advice and try to help you see a way ahead in these uncertain times.

If you decide to go ahead, think of the cost as a short-term expense for longer term gain. Particularly when looking at pensions. Financial agreements are very much based on your specific needs and it’s important that you take control of your future.

3: Stop and breathe: It’s very important that you have time to think about what has happened and to consider your next steps. Is there an opportunity to consider counselling and is it recognised that the relationship has come to an end?

It’s very easy for things to be said which you may regret later. If you can, try and discuss interim arrangements to give you breathing space while you look at the bigger picture.

4: Be aware of your options: You need to have a clear idea as to the financial assets within the relationship to include income, capital and pensions.

You can also review your position ie. can you increase your hours at work to improve your mortgage position? What housing would meet your needs if you are having to sell the property? Are you entitled to benefits? How much does it cost to stay in the house?

These are all factors which are particular to you and once you have a better idea, the future is less daunting. Our advice is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

5: Alternative future: Lastly, although the relationship breakdown may have been unexpected, once you adopt the resolutions as noted above, this will make you feel that you have a say in your future and more importantly control. We will help you get there and provide support and advice as required.

We hope that these resolutions will help. If you feel that you could benefit from further advice, please click here to contact a member of our knowledgeable and highly experienced Family Law team today to arrange your free initial consultation.

Cindy Ervine

Partner and Head of Family Law

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