As 120,000 or so married couples in England & Wales discover every year, breaking up is hard to do. With the average cost of a litigious divorce being put at £28,000, it can also be financially crippling. Fortunately, few need pay the multi-million pound legal bills and settlements that the media tells us about when the likes of Johnny Depp and other celebs divorce. But dissolving any marriage frequently comes with steep financial costs.
However, there are steps that can be taken to ease the financial burden of breaking up.
First, manage your expectations of the law by focusing on settlement
An estimated 90% of divorce cases are settled without a final court hearing. And there is a good reason for that. One of the most costly illusions in divorce is that the court will take care of you – that a wise and kindly Judge will right wrongs. But justice is not an absolute, and judges are not all powerful. Judge’s decisions are rarely a win-win for both spouses. Instead, you are the one who can make the best decisions in your divorce.
Try and resist the impulse to have “your day in court” be the focus of your divorce. Instead, seek to work with your solicitor and your spouse towards a settlement without involving the courts. By first looking at your mutual interests, like your children, you might find you agree on more than you think. Sharp Family Law and other Family Law solicitors that I work with in Bath and Bristol have specialised knowledge on how to promote settlement out of court including family mediation and collaborative law. These settlements options provide affordable and high value outcomes for you and your family.
Most divorces are settled out of court. Don’t expect “your day in court” to be the solution for your future. Your future can be in your hands – not the courts.
Second, manage your emotions by focusing on what is most important
Divorce is riddled with potential legal and financial complications. But how you let your emotions affect those complications can impact significantly on the overall cost of your divorce. You can help reduce them by having clear objectives from the outset. Discuss with your Family Law solicitor what you hope to accomplish, what results you can expect and what the costs might be. Have your goals top of mind at all time.
Divorce is an extremely demanding and painful experience. Emotions run high and the desire to vent feelings is strong. But don’t be tempted to use your solicitor as a sounding board for your complaints. Time spent in emotional communications with your divorce solicitor could impact the cost of your divorce. I try and help clients manage the emotions of divorce by working with Bath and Bristol based divorce coaches, counsellors and family therapists.
Have clear objectives and focus on what is and will be important to you and your family.
Third, manage your finances by having a plan
In addition to being a time of deep emotional distress, divorce is a business transaction. Try and think about it as a business deal. Get to know your financial situation. You will need to know what are your financial assets and debts, your monthly income and outgoings and any financial commitments. Make sure you have the papers about them. Be clear with your Family Law solicitor what he/she needs from you.
I work with financial advisors in and around Bath, who are recognised as specialists in handling the complex financial issues that face divorcing couples. These professionals help clients make informed decisions about their financial future.
Keep your emotions as far as possible from the financial and legal decision making processes.
And finally, every divorce involves three intertwined components – Legal, emotional and financial. How you manage all three, will determine the cost of your divorce.