As new figures released by Relate, the UK based charity offering relationship counselling, reveal a 66 per-cent rise in the demand for their services as the impact of the recession begins to takes its toll on many couples, the family law specialists at Woolley &Co are launching their top ten tips for surviving both divorce and the financial turmoil.
Andrew Woolley, senior partner at “virtual” law firm Woolley & Co, which conducts much of its work online and over the phone, said, “The scenario is all too well known. You didn’t know there was anything wrong. Your spouse tells you they have another and are moving in with them, that they want 60 per-cent of the house, the children, the car, part of your pension and a large part of your business. And you’ll get divorce papers in the next week setting out your unreasonable behaviour! “
In light of this all to common scenario Woolley & Co, solicitors have developed their top ten tips for survival:
1. Don’t underestimate how tough it will be. Without the right advice it will be slow, painful and costly. If you are the one with most assets in your name or under your control it will feel more like damage limitation than “doing quite well out of it”. Get a good divorce lawyer fast and listen. But don’t (normally) do anything immediately. Reflect. Speak to a friend who will tell you the truth, one who won’t just tell you that you are right and your spouse is an absolute……. (They may be, but will that help?) Consider counselling, it really helps get things in perspective. Get ready for a long battle, unless of course you are prepared to come to an agreement. This isn’t the necessarily wrong thing to do.
2. Hide your assets. No, no, no! It very, very rarely works and is normally found out. If found out you are in trouble. Courts can effectively ignore and turn back transfers to friends or children; giving up a job or running the business down. They’ve heard them all before.
3. Get a good divorce lawyer. This is very important. Ask around. Look at websites; do they sound your sort of people, can they communicate with you, are they experts, do they immediately suggest Court (if so, worry about them), do they talk about seeking an agreement?
4. Think about the legal costs. They can be huge but not normally anywhere as high as the cost of divorce that you can sometimes read about. And the large bills are normally only if your case ends up being decided by the Court in a long hearing with nobody even able to agree what day it is. Do try to avoid that and the best way is to swallow pride and ideas of retribution, focus instead on what you are trying to achieve.
5. Don’t spend £100 arguing about £100. What is the point? Think about it. If you both do that, you’ve spent £200 arguing about £100. Someone has to be the “adult”, let it be you. You will feel better in the long run.
6. Stay in the house. OK, not if you are in danger but normally it is by far the best to stay as you will know much more about what is happening. If a sale is to happen then you will be able to see if your spouse is trying to put buyers off, and if they are going to buy you out, your presence is an incentive to get on with it!
7. Don’t agree with a new lover that you will remarry or live together. Avoid the subject and keep it out of your mind. Just in case. If the case does go to Court then if asked as you will likely be “Do you have any present intention to remarry or cohabit” you can honestly then answer “no”. And anyway, it is just too soon for you to make that sort of decision.
8. Sort disputes over the children out without lawyers if you can. The only real alternative to an agreement is a rigid Court order, obtained at great expense. It is rigid for both you and the spouse too and it often doesn’t work due to realities of varying needs, time, delays and so on.
9. Change your email address. Well, maybe don’t go that far but change the password to your email account so your spouse can’t see the legal advice you are getting. It is incredible how often this happens.
10. Try to be as honest as you can. Especially to your own divorce lawyer. But many people are surprised to find their lawyer will not lie for them and often cannot continue advising them if told “Don’t tell my spouse but I’ve got £10,000 under the mattress”.
For advice book an appointment with a family lawyer now.