Separating from your spouse or partner is undoubtedly one of the most challenging times of your life. It is sensible to seek specialist family law advice about your situation at the earliest opportunity, even if you do not act on it immediately.
Meeting your Solicitor for the first time to discuss this personal matter will be daunting but these helpful tips should lessen anxieties and make for a constructive meeting.
- Identify when the relationship or marriage broke down - the date of separation. A financial claim by a separating cohabitant must be raised within one year of separation. For spouses, matrimonial property is valued at the date of separation (unless jointly held). This date may also have a bearing on when you can raise a divorce action.
- The welfare of any children of your relationship / marriage is paramount and you should consider how much time the children will spend with each of you.
- Check how much you and your spouse / partner earn. Child maintenance or aliment is paid by the non-resident parent to the parent with care of a child. The amount to be paid will be based partly on the paying parent’s income. The income and outgoings of both spouses is also relevant when assessing claims for spousal aliment.
- Prepare a list of assets and debts owned by you and your spouse / partner at the date of separation - include their value and how they were accrued. Consider whether either of you brought any assets to the relationship, your employment history and whether either of you have sustained any economic advantage or disadvantage during the relationship or marriage.
- Write down any questions you have about the legalities or practicalities of your situation. Bring a pen and paper to take notes and a friend or family member for moral support.
- Ask your Solicitor for an estimate of cost. Planning how to pay your legal costs will alleviate a source of worry during negotiations.
The benefit of legal advice cannot be overstated. Please contact us if you wish to make an appointment.