Separating from a partner can be a difficult and stressful time. There may be a level of anxiety about how the future might look and what your immediate concerns are. These can include:
- Who will pay the mortgage or rent?
- What happens to all the bills?
- What are my entitlements?
- Can I withdraw joint savings or other money to support myself?
- If I borrow money after separation, how will that work?
- What will the arrangements for the children be?
Read on for examples of matters you may want to consider:
1. Do financial arrangements need to change?
It may be that, but for some additional expenditures with respect to a party living elsewhere, no significant change needs to occur to your general financial arrangements. There may be some expenditure that can be agreed to be cut while you are working your way through negotiations or obtaining advice. Such discussions can occur at mediation.
2. Is Selling the Home an option?
If neither party can afford to keep a property, it may be that the property should be sold, or that there are some general discussions as to if/when that could occur.
Advice may be sought from a sales agent regarding a sale price or improvements to the property that may be required.
Where children are involved, whether or not to sell the former matrimonial home can be a difficult decision, but knowing your living arrangements with certainty may be better in the long run.
3. Mediation and Urgency
Litigation is not the only way to settle a dispute that exists between yourself and your former partner. There are other avenues of dispute resolution that can be explored, and it’s important you get advice on which one may be best for you. If you don’t consider that you can effectively communicate with the other party, you may want to attempt mediation sooner rather than later, where appropriate.
A mediator can help to bridge the communication gap and help parties come to their own decisions about how best to proceed. Whilst you may not necessary need your solicitor at the mediation with you, it would be beneficial to seek legal advice prior to your attendance at mediation so you have an idea as to rights and entitlements.
Whilst there are some pre-action procedures required prior to the filing of any Court Application, mediation is not one of them. For example, if you require urgent action to stop the sale of a house registered only in one party’s name or urgent financial assistance, speak to your lawyer and see if such an application can be commenced in Court without any delay.
4. Disclosure and Finances
Under the relevant Family Court Rules, parties looking to separate and sever their financial relationship must engage in pre-action procedures prior to the commencement of proceedings. Part of the pre-action procedures refer to each parties’ duty to disclose their relevant financial circumstances (and vouching documents) to the other party. If you are unsure about your partner’s finances or the financial arrangements you have in place, you can make requests for those documents. If they are not forthcoming you may seek the assistance of a solicitor or the Family Court directly to obtain documents relevant to an issue in dispute in any proceedings.
5. Getting Advice early
It is preferable to have an idea of what your legal rights are when going through a separation. You may also benefit from the experience of a lawyer informing and advising you on the possible options available to you, and likely outcomes depending on the circumstances of your case.
If you require advice or seek further information regarding any of the above, please contact Culshaw Miller Lawyers for an obligation free discussion with respect to your specific circumstances.
Please note the above is not intended as legal advice and you should consult a solicitor as to your own personal circumstances.