Who should be on your divorce team?
I have been confined to my bed for the last week having finally succumbed to COVID-19 for the first time since the pandemic started. Something that kept me going was knowing I have a fantastic team of people around me at work so my clients wouldn’t suffer from me not being around, and a great family to look after me and my dog at home.
During the last week I also missed the fantastic Lionesses making it to the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 final and our recent talk by Sir Andrew McFarlane (president of the Family Division) regarding his desire to keep family disputes out of the court arena. The two topics might not seem connected but intrinsically you should always make sure you have the best team around you to succeed in life, and separation from your life partner is no different.
So, who should be on your team?
Friends and family
Top of the list has to be your friends and family. They will be an enormous emotional support to you during one of the most stressful of life events.
You should always, however, remember that your friends and family will automatically be biased to see things from your perspective and this does not always qualify them as an independent sounding board for you. They are not, therefore, the people to get legal or financial advice from.
You could think of these as your mid-fielders as they can support both the offence and the defence roles within the team.
Therapist / Counsellor
Whilst your friends and family will provide you with emotional support and be your ‘cheerleaders’ you might also need the help of a professional therapist or counsellor. A great therapist will both listen to you but also gently challenge you where this is necessary to help you see clearly and understand where your own bias might be clouding your thinking.
It isn’t just a personal therapist that might be useful. You should also consider a therapist / counsellor for your children, whatever their age. Whilst this is a huge change for you and your partner, the ramifications will be impacting your children. You may think you are shielding your children from your separation but they are likely to know or feel more than you realise.
These could be your pitch-side official supporters on hand with water and orange slices.
Many people going through a separation will encounter situational depression. There is no shame in accessing the support of your GP and utilising anti-depressants if these are recommended and prescribed.
These are your medics to provide more intensive support.
A separation can have a number of financial implications for you, in the short, medium and the long term. It is important, therefore, to ensure you understand where you are financially. If you already have a financial advisor then they will likely hold details of all your financial resources and they can help you to protect those but also flag up issues such as upcoming tax liabilities.
If you do not already have a financial advisor then you might need one to help you understand the implications of the financial division and / or help you choose suitable investments including pensions into which your settlement will be placed.
These will be your forwards.
Obviously, I would also recommend that everyone takes legal advice. Whilst people often assume that matters are not amicable if lawyers are involved, legal advice is important for everyone, even those who think they have reached amicable decisions. This could be because you haven’t considered everything lawyers are trained to spot or because your solicitor can give you advice on how best to protect or enforce those agreements for the benefit of you and of your children.
If you haven’t yet reached an agreement, a solicitor can help you understand your entitlement to empower you to make the right steps to reach a settlement, whether this is a financial settlement or resolving the arrangements for your children.
Choosing the right solicitor for you is also important. Your solicitor should understand your goals and values and be able to align their way of practice to those values. You need to feel they are on your side and that you have faith in them.
These are your defenders and your top scorers.
Whilst I have kept this article fairly light-hearted with your fantasy football team, it is important to have a great team around you. Hopefully having your best team will lead you to victory like it has our England Women’s team at the final (#itcamehome).
The first big decision you need to make is to decide how you are going to get an agreement about your separation, both in terms of the finances and the arrangements for your children.
Watch this space for our next article about the various options available to you to assist you in keeping your disputes out of court and why it might be important to try and keep matters out of court.
If you want to know how BDB Pitmans can be a part of your divorce team, please do get in contact with our specialist family lawyers, who will be more than willing to advise on your specific circumstances.