What should I do whilst I wait for my divorce?
With the deadline looming for no fault divorce, many couples will be making the decision to wait for the new rules to come into force on 6 April 2022. Indeed for many there will be no choice available as the old system will be disabled on 31 March 2022 so you will have to hurry if you want to use the old system. The new no fault system has inbuilt delays within it to satisfy those that want to ensure divorce isn’t too ‘easy’. That includes a minimum of 20 weeks from the issuing of the application for divorce and the making of the conditional order of divorce.
So, is there anything you could or should be doing during that 20 week period?
Arrangements for your children
Divorce proceedings have no impact on the arrangements for your children and so you will need to consider what the appropriate arrangements should be going forward. It is only if you are unable to agree and an application to the court is necessary that someone else will be able to impose arrangements upon either of you.
It might be helpful to have a discussion with a solicitor about what the court might consider to be appropriate arrangements to help move on any discussions or disagreements.
If you are able to agree the arrangements, you might want to prepare a Parenting Plan to record those agreements.
There can be a number of tax implications following your divorce. I have written a previous article about tax considerations on divorce which can be found here. It is important to get advice on these tax issues at an early stage as this will enable you to take steps to mitigate those tax payments. This could be from a tax specialist solicitor or an appropriately qualified accountant/financial advisor.
In addition to tax advice, you may also need input from a financial advisor. This could be on issues such as cash-flow forecasting to make sure that you have sufficiently considered your options, company valuations or it could be a pension report to advise you on how the pension assets should be divided to provide equality of income on retirement.
We can assist you by signposting where we think this advice would be helpful or essential and appropriate professionals to assist. As solicitors we are unable to provide you with financial advice.
Legal advice on division of assets
Once you have collated all of the financial information you need, including any expert advice, it is time to start trying to agree the division of assets between you. We can assist in providing you with advice specific to your circumstances which will enable you to have discussions either around the kitchen table or within a forum such as mediation. Early access of legal advice shouldn’t be overlooked. If agreement isn’t possible then we can advise you on the other options for resolving the division of the your assets.
Organise the practical arrangements for implementation
Once you know the financial agreement you will need to implement that agreement. You will need a solicitor to draft the relevant documents to make your agreement legally binding and this could be drafted in advance of your conditional order of divorce. You may need to have a property solicitor in place to deal with transfer or sale of a property or properties. You might need a pension advisor to assist with where to invest a pension or a financial advisor to help you invest a lump sum.
We can, of course, assist with the legal side of matters but we also have an extensive network of people to help you find the best experts to guide you through the implementation process. This will help to ensure that much of this is in place ready to go ahead once the conditional order of divorce is received.
Revise your will
If you already have a will in place you should review the terms as divorce will mean that your former spouse is treated as pre-deceasing you, so they will be skip over when considering inheritances. This may not accord with your wishes so you should speak to a solicitor to revise the terms.
If you have any questions about no-fault divorce or the steps that you should be taking now, please contact a member of our specialist family and matrimonial team who will be happy to assist you.