How Do I Prepare for Divorce?
If you believe that getting a divorce is the right decision for you, it can be quite overwhelming when you consider all the different factors at play. Preparing for your divorce is a key stage because it will help make the process as smooth as possible.
Get Legal Advice About Your Divorce
Deciding to get a divorce can be a big life-changing step. You’re likely to feel lost, anxious and distressed, and having the right support during such a difficult time is crucial. In some cases, it may be a good idea to get legal advice from a family lawyer or divorce solicitor as they will listen to you and discuss your options and explain where you stand and what your rights are.
You can search for a solicitor by looking online at different reviews or on the Law Society website. At Lyons Bowe, we have a team of expert divorce lawyers that prioritise the needs of you and your family over and above everything else. We are there for our clients throughout their divorce and are adaptable to their needs. We offer face-to-face support or a digital experience depending on your preferences.
Get Support for Your Divorce
Getting support when you’re going through a divorce can be vital for your peace of mind. There are various ways you can find support whether online or in person.
Divorce Advice Services
Some organisations offer advice and support for those going through a divorce such as Divorce Recovery Workshops which organises group sessions to help people discuss and understand personal feelings. Divorce Care is a support group that helps people come back from a separation. The Separated Parents Information Programme (SPIP) is a course that helps people put their children first while they are going through a separation. Restored Lives runs courses that help people manage their lives after a breakup and try to reduce the negative effects on them and their families. You can also use useful information on websites such as Citizens Advice or Advicenow which have guides that can provide you with practical advice.
Organisations such as Relate offer counselling sessions to support people who are going through a divorce or separation. It can be a useful way to unpack any issues or lasting negative effects that were caused as a result of the relationship breakdown.
Family mediation can be used to gain independent advice from a trained professional who can help work out parenting arrangements and financial matters that need to be discussed with your spouse.
Financial Planning Advice After Divorce
When you’re going through a divorce, it is likely that you have many joint assets with your spouse such as property, savings and investments. Your solicitor can help you split your finances with your spouse in the settlement stage of the process, however, after this, you may be left with questions about how you can rebuild financial stability. Speaking with a divorce financial planning adviser may be great for you to work out how to take control of your finances after a divorce. Some experts may be able to advise you on where best to invest your money and will help you plan for your future by devising income goals and personal budgets.
Get Documents Together
Applying for a divorce involves getting together specific documents and sending them as part of your divorce petition. You’ll need to provide the following documents and information:
- Yours and your spouse’s full names and addresses
- Your original marriage certificate or a certified copy
- A translation of your marriage certificate if it is not in English
- Proof of changing your name (if applicable) such as a deed poll
What Do I Need to Do After I Get Divorced?
Getting divorced is a big change especially if you have been married for many years. It is likely that you will have a lot of ties to the other person such as joint finances, bills in joint names and intertwined lives. Here are a few points to consider after getting a divorce:
Make a Will
If you have a Will in place that lists your spouse as the beneficiary for instance, or you made a mirror Will together, you’ll need to update it to reflect your current situation.
Change of Name
If you changed your name when you got married, you may want to change it back after a divorce. You can do so via a deed poll which is a legal document that makes your new name official. You’ll need to provide your marriage certificate and final decision/decree absolute which finalised the divorce to apply.
Notify Relevant People of Name Change and Change of Address
If you legally change your name or you move house, you’ll need to notify all the relevant organisations such as:
- The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to change your driving licence
- Doctors, dentists and other medical organisations
- Banks and other financial institutions
- Mobile phone companies, TV, and internet providers
- Electoral roll register
- HMRC- if you are self-employed
- Other insurance companies such as car insurers
Close Shared Bank Accounts
If you have any joint bank accounts with your spouse, once your assets have been divided and provided your solicitor agrees that you are allowed to take what is yours from any joint accounts, you may wish to open up a new sole bank account and close any joint accounts.
Stop Any Standing Orders or Direct Debits
Standing orders are regular payments made to another account such as transfers to a savings account. Direct debits are payments taken from your account that are made to organisations such as bills. If you have these in place, it is a good idea to stop them or notify any relevant companies such as insurance companies, utility providers or Netflix for instance that payments should be taken from another account or that they should be cancelled altogether.
If you and your spouse share things like ipads, computers, Netflix accounts, Amazon Prime accounts or any other log in details, you may decide that you want to set up your own accounts or stop them from accessing yours.
As part of the divorce process, you’ll need to decide what to do next with any property you jointly own with your ex. Typically, one person buys the other one out or the house(s) is sold and the funds are split. If you don’t own property together but you live in rented accommodation and the tenancy is in both of your names, you’ll need to give your landlord notice that either one of you or both of you will be moving out.
Update a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
If your spouse was acting as your Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) meaning they were making decisions about your health and welfare or property and finances on your behalf, then providing there is no clause in the LPA that states that the LPA continues after divorce, it will end. In this case, a new LPA will need to be made appointing a new attorney if your spouse was the only appointed attorney.
Make Child Arrangements
Making child arrangements is a key part of the divorce process and it can take some time to figure out the details especially when you cannot agree with your ex partner. You can get help through family mediation or discuss arrangements between yourselves as you know your children best. You’ll need to make decisions about where the children will live, how much time they’ll spend with each parent and who will support them financially.
If You Can Agree With Your Ex-Partner
If you can both come to a mutual agreement that you’re happy with regarding the details of your child’s upbringing and day-to-day life, then you can write these down in a parenting plan. After this, you can make the agreement legally binding by getting a legal professional to draft a consent order. This will finalise all the details of the arrangements in case one parent does not follow the terms and you need to dispute this later down the line. The consent order will need to be approved by the court which is not usually a problem unless the judge decides the arrangements are unfair and not in the best interests of the child.
If You Can’t Agree With Your Ex-Partner
In some cases, it is difficult to come to an agreement about child arrangements perhaps because you have different ideas about how the child should be brought up or one person has a new partner which the other parent doesn’t like. If you can’t agree, you’ll need to go through mediation to demonstrate that you are trying to come up with solutions amicably. This isn’t always possible, however, in which case, you’ll need to apply for a court order. Anyone with parental responsibility is able to apply for a court order.
There are different types of court orders depending on your situation and what you’re trying to achieve. For instance, a child arrangements order will decide where the child will live and how much contact they will have with each parent. A specific issue order is designed to address specific questions such as how the child will be educated or whether they should receive certain medical treatment. On the other hand, a prohibited steps order is put in place to stop one parent from doing certain things or making certain decisions about the child’s upbringing.