How to save money when you divorce
1. Avoid pointless disputes
“Judge: couple’s £850,000 divorce is financial suicide; Mr Justice Holman calls legal battle a tragedy and begs doctor and lawyer to resolve their differences. Aloke Ray, 41, and his estranged wife Charoo Sekhri, who is in her late 30s, had each spent a “staggering” £430,000 after starting divorce litigation, said Mr Justice Holman…” Guardian Newspaper 25 July 2013.
The report said this was nearly a quarter of their combined wealth of around £4m. The report continued…
“Their dispute had centred on which country their divorce should proceed in. The judge said “somewhere” Ray would have to make “fair provision” for Sekhri. And he said their “sustained forensic struggle” had been “painful to observe”.”
In other words, it does not appear that this couple has started to look at how their wealth should be divided. They were simply arguing where the divorce should take place. Most would dream of being able to spend money in this way. Sadly however pointless and costly disputes are played out all over the country on a very regular basis
For example; Interim maintenance disputes caused by the partner who is stronger financially not making sufficient money available for the weaker (and sometimes their children) to live off.
Or how about; One partner trying to hide money that they should disclose the existence of? (which lead to freezing orders or the Court being asked to decide on financial misconduct).
Or disputes about children arrangements when there are no genuine safety issues.
If you both approach things in a straightforward way, you will save thousands of pounds.
Remember what you actually want to achieve? A fair outcome. Somewhere where everyone can live that is proportionate. Decent arrangements for the children so they are safe and happy and everyone can enjoy them.
If you are the stronger financially, make sure that the other has sufficient money coming in to survive. If you are weaker, do what you can to improve your position. Claim what you are entitled to. Why argue about interim maintenance, hiding or disposing of assets or the contents of the divorce, even if there should be a divorce? It all ends up taking time and costing money
2. Don’t wind the other person up
The reasons for breakup are complicated. Give each other space. You know each other very well. You do feel upset, offended, worried, but what you need is to know what you are doing in the future, where you will live and how etc. You know how to score points with each other; how to wind each other up. But all you are doing is encouraging the other to respond in kind and to resist negotiation or making concessions.
If you are the Petitioner, do you really need to include things in the Petition (Unreasonable Behaviour) that you know will offend the other? You just need to show sufficient to meet the Legal Test. Why say more? There is no need. Why/how the divorce takes place does not in itself have a bearing on financial or children issues. Better to keep things as inoffensive as possible and focus on the real issues. (i appreciate that in some cases, where the other has behaved badly, it is tempting to say the worst. Trust me; It ultimately causes more harm than good to go down such a route. Say the minimum in the divorce that is required).
3. Don’t play silly games yourself
A mix of 1. And 2. Don’t be secretive, hide money, dispose of assets without agreement. You will be found out for being deviousness. Once trust is lost it hard to regain. If finances are dire, then be open abut it and produce evidence so they accept what you say.
4. Stay focused.
If the other person tries to wind you up, don’t rise to the bait; Otherwise you end up in pointless disputes. If there are children; what role modelling is going on? You are both adults.
5. Get to the negotiating table as soon as possible
You want to save money? This is the key point. Give financial disclosure quickly. Then negotiate. Be reasonable and realistic. As soon as the everything is resolved everyone can move forward. Most importantly the Solicitors time recording clock stops and no more costs are incurred.
6. Get a good solicitor
What is good? One who is outcome focused, realistic in their advice and doesn’t lead you into 1. Or let you get embroiled with 2, 3, and 4! They shouldn’t be a pushover of course, but if you are realistic, you tend to be negotiating from a strong position and you will have a strong case if you end up in court.
A good solicitor will want to concentrate on the evidence. Both evidence of the family’s resources and evidence to demonstrate what their clients needs are and how they need to be met.
7. Consider Mediation/Collaborative Law
There are different ways to achieve a good/fair outcome. Let your Solicitor guide you.
8. Don’t try to do things too cheaply
Divorce is a legal process. Best not to avoid Solicitors completely or until the end. It is also best not to get disjointed multiple free advice from different solicitors. Will you save £2000- £5000 at the cost of £30,000 etc in the overall settlement?
9. Be realistic when seeking quotes
Did you go to the Solicitor who quoted cheapest? See Legal Ombudsman Report from earlier in the year. This looks at why people makes complaints. A realistic quote is not always the cheapest. Beware hidden costs…. http://www.legalombudsman.org.uk/downloads/documents/publications/The-price-of-separation-LeO-report.pdf
Follow our advice on choosing a Solicitor at https://familylawandmediation.co.uk/13-tips-for-choosing-a-family-law-solicitor/
Or just give me a call…