Any keen golfer (or golf widow) will know that the prospect of teeing off and landing straight in the bunker can have catastrophic effect on your final scorecard. It is easy to get your separation or divorce off to a similar start by making a mistake that will leave you well over par and potentially financially worse off.
How do you make sure your divorce doesn’t tee off in the same way?
- Regardless of who is to blame, do not leave a spouse or any children in financial need. Maintaining the financial status quo is usually preferable in the short term before a global settlement can be reached. Try and investigate any state benefits to help reduce the burden.
- Don’t splash out on those Callaway clubs just yet if money is tight, you may find you have to repay or add back the cost. Ideally there should be no unusual or big purchases until a settlement has been reached.
- Don’t change the locks on any jointly owned family home. Married couples are entitled to occupy the family home and cannot be unreasonably excluded. The only time that this may be acceptable is if a spouse’s safety is threatened.
- Don’t use the children as a weapon in a divorce or separation. It rarely has the desired long term affect. Be open with children without involving them in the conflict and be realistic about how they will be cared for.
- Don’t be tempted into a piecemeal financial settlement such as agreeing to sell assets like the family home without sorting out everything else. Agree a global deal and have it formally recorded by a solicitor to make it legally binding.
- Keep a record of any payments made or received between you and if unavoidable, any savings encashed or property sold during this period (ideally this should be by joint agreement).
- Don’t listen to everyone else’s divorce horror stories or myths. Get some sound legal advice and consider all the options alongside your legal rights and obligations.
Be reassured that modern matrimonial law encourages couples to try and agree a way forward wherever possible. There are many options to avoid court these days and with the right legal assistance, you need not feel as though you are destined for a bogey.