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One of the most challenging aspects of divorce and separation can be discussing legal and money matters. However, discussing these issues with your former partner as soon as you can will give you the clarity, stability and the certainty you need to move on.
You may be worried about how you will cope financially because your former partner was the main bread winner, or you may be worried because you are the main bread winner and you are worried about how you will manage to re-house yourself. All of these concerns are normal and valid. Both you and your children are entitled to be considered in your discussions.
Mediators help both of you gain a clear understanding of your financial position by gathering and sharing all the details and documents. If your financial circumstances are complex, the mediator may suggest that an independent financial adviser join a mediation session to help you understand your situation. The mediator may also adviser that you see an IFA in between mediation sessions. In the majority of cases, once you have collected together all your financial information, the mediator will be able to assist you in sharing it.
Sitting down together whilst challenging is beneficial.
Follow these steps to support you to discuss legal and money matters:
Prior to the meeting
1. Ask your former partner to meet you to discuss legal and or money matters.
2. Agree to meet in a neutral venue, separately from contact time with your children if you have them.
3. Write down the key points you want to discuss. This will help you if you are feeling nervous and will also ensure you remember to discuss everything that’s important to you.
4. Consider giving your former partner a list of the areas you’d like to discuss. This helps by preparing your partner for what you are going to say.
At the meeting
1. Keep the meeting business like. It’s easy for emotions to takeover when talking about money and it will help you to stick to the facts.
2. Keep an open mind and talk about your reality – that is, how much money you need and why. It’s harder to dispute facts than estimates.
3. Recognise that your partner will have expenses too.
4. Take a broad view and look at how you can find a solution together.
5. Recognise that compromises are likely to be needed.
6. Recognise that you may be able to come to final decisions about something’s such as the house and pensions but maintenance for the children may well change as they grow or circumstances change.
7. Be flexible.
If it isn’t possible for the two of you to meet to discuss legal and money matters, consider going to mediation. Mediation can also help to keep the legal costs down because you are working together to reach agreement.