It is always preferable to resolve the child arrangements and the division of assets amicably.
It is often a more cost-effective way to divorce, as well as minimising the stress and disruption that an acrimonious separation can cause. We are always supportive of clients who want to achieve an amicable settlement.
However, do not fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re on good terms with your former spouse, you don’t need a solicitor and legal advice is a waste of money. It could be a very expensive mistake to make.
What do I need to consider in an amicable separation?
There are many common issues and pitfalls which people encounter when preparing to separate. To avoid them, you need to consider:
- Are you getting a fair share of the assets?
- Do you know what assets there are?
- What pensions do you have, do you understand all the benefits of the schemes and do you understand the implications and rules of them?
- What income in the short, medium and long term are you going to have and does this meet your expenditure?
- Do you know the full extent of your spouse’s income?
- Have you got any liabilities?
- Who will be responsible for the mortgage?
- Should the house be sold and how will the proceeds be divided?
The last thing you want is to realise later a few years down the line that you overlooked something significant and are losing out as a result.
Is an amicable separation possible?
In our experience, it certainly is possible to separate amicably and for both parties to achieve a settlement which they are happy with – but legal advice is still an important part of the process.
We would never stand in the way of a genuinely amicable settlement when both individuals have a clear picture of their respective income and assets, and both understand the terms they are agreeing and the implications of that agreement.
However, sometimes one spouse is appearing to be amicable because they want the other to agree to something which is not fair. Alarm bells should ring if you are being urged not to bother getting legal advice.
We strongly recommend getting legal advice before agreeing any terms of settlement. We also strongly recommend that any settlement terms, once agreed, are incorporated into a formal legal agreement or a court order so that they are binding and it is not possible for them to be reneged upon later. Without this, your agreement is unlikely to be worth the paper it is written on.
At Harrogate Family Law, we are highly regarded for protecting wealth and making agreements as water-tight as possible. We also make sure that you are treated fairly and achieve a settlement which meets your needs.
We deal with complex cases on a regular basis and are able to identify all of the possible issues and pitfalls specific to your circumstances, whether that is relating to a family business, school fees, pensions or other factors.
We are also skilled negotiators, with about 95% of our cases reaching an agreement outside of court. Investing in our expertise at an early stage could therefore save you money and time in the long run.
Andrew Meehan is individually recommended for family law by both Chambers 2018 (York, Hull and surrounds region) and the Legal 500 2017 (Leeds/West Yorkshire and North Yorkshire region). He is also the only Resolution accredited specialist solicitor in Harrogate for divorce cases involving complex financial and property matters.
This article has been prepared with the aim of providing general information only and does not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While we aim to ensure that the information is correct at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. In addition, everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Harrogate Family Law accepts no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss or damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of any part of our website, except to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.