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A Divorce is for Life, Not Just for Christmas!

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20 Dec 2019

Posted in Family Law

The countdown to Christmas is a particularly busy time of year for the Family department, as we receive our highest number of matrimonial enquiries in the run-up to the festive period and shortly thereafter.  We expect the start of 2020 to be no different.

Last year, 13 people filed for divorce on Christmas Day itself, as our electronic system came in.

However, divorce is not a decision to be taken lightly, and when it comes to financial matters, you need to consider the following before filing for divorce.

Are you prepared to complete your financial disclosure form?

It is advisable that both parties exchange a complete and truthful account of their financial information in order for the divorce to progress as smoothly as possible. This process will enable both parties to consider viable options for each of their future living arrangements. This will include (but not be limited to) providing details of your property, mortgages, savings, income and pensions. You will want to ensure that your ‘house is in order’ prior to entering into this process. At a minimum, parties will exchange a year’s worth of statements and financial information but this can be extended if is considered, for example, that a large asset has been transferred or disposed.

Have you considered what the future looks like? 

Future Living Arrangements

It is important to consider the factors involved in renting or buying a suitable alternative property, for example:

  • How much you would need to put down as a deposit?
  • Is the property within an appropriate distance from your workplace/schools?
  • Will you need references/a good credit rating/ to reduce your debts?
  • In some cases, both parties may choose for one to buy the other out of a shared property.
    • If you plan to take over/increase a mortgage you will need to ask your mortgage provider if they would release the other party from liability.
    • It may be a good idea to look into the viability of a replacement mortgage (in a sole name) from an alternative lender.
  • In other instances, it may be necessary to buy another property – you should consult a mortgage broker about your mortgage raising capacity in order to find out how much you are able to borrow.

Taxes

  • It is possible that in managing your assets, you will be liable to pay certain taxes:
    • Increased Stamp Duty if you are purchasing a second property
    • Capital Gains Tax on any property you may be selling if the value has increased since you purchased it

Budgeting for the Future

  • You can check the government website if you think you may be eligible for:
    • Housing Benefit or a Council Tax Discount
    • Tax or Universal Credits
    • Unemployment/disability benefits
  • If you have children who are still dependant, you can consult the Child Maintenance Service for information regarding the impact proposed future living arrangements may have on Child Maintenance.
  • If you, or any of your children, are considering further education, you can contact the National Union of Students whose Student Finance Advisors can provide information on bursaries and student loans.
  • In certain circumstances, it may be appropriate for you to pay or to be paid spousal maintenance.
  • Think about the steps that you can take in order to achieve financial independence: budgets that rely on overtime/benefits/maintenance may not be sustainable.
  • If you have historically relied on your partner for finance management, you may wish to speak to a Financial Advisor to help you with future budgeting.
  • If either party has debts, it is important to contemplate how and when repayments will be made. Consider if missed payments will put any assets at risk and if you could take any steps to make your finances more manageable.
  • In terms of Life Insurance If your employer has a death in service provision, you will need to verify who stands to benefit once you are divorced and whether you will need to complete any paperwork to ensure policy proceeds go where you intend for them to.

A New Partner

If you live with or are planning to live with a new partner, their assets and income will be relevant to the proceedings insofar as they influence your ability to meet your future needs.

Wills

Wills are affected by divorce or dissolution so it is a good idea to consult a Solicitor about whether you will need to draft or amend a Will. For Will related enquiries, please contact Bharat Pindoria either via email: bharat@pindorialaw.com or by telephone: 0208 951 6959

Consult a Family Solicitor

It is advisable to consult a family law solicitor who can help you answer any queries you may have relating to

  • The factors considered by a judge
  • The type of information and evidence that is required
  • The usual outcome for people in similar circumstances
  • Any unusual aspects of your circumstances, or any reason why the matter wouldn’t conclude in the usual manner
  • The average legal costs associated with this matter, and the costs of court fees
  • Where liability for court costs will lie
  • The duration of the court and whether there are any deadlines to be aware of
  • Alternative options to court

If you are considering a divorce, please contact Ms Tejal Samani, Director and Head of the Family Law  department at Pindoria Solicitors before starting the process. We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Peaceful New Year in 2020.

Tel:     0208 951 6959

Email: tejal@pindorialaw.com