Every January, the press take great pleasure in writing about Divorce Day i.e. the most popular day for divorce petitions to be filed with the court. 2020 has provided even greater fodder for publications that wish to sound the death knell for relationships and one could argue that 2020 was in fact ‘Divorce Year’. The retailer Poundland clearly seems to think so given that they are launching their first ‘divorce celebration’ range to help the newly single toast their separation.
Whilst it may be easy to joke about your partner driving you up the wall whilst you try to juggle work, home schooling and all the rest, it is not a laughing matter. Domestic violence rates have surged during lockdown and people’s mental health has been impacted significantly. Whilst this January, the column inches have been dominated by the imposition of a new national lockdown and the roll out of the vaccine, there are still a smattering of articles on this subject peppered among the various other COVID and Brexit headlines featuring on the daily doomscroll.
The vast majority of relationships will have been tested in one way or another since March and you may feel that you need to do something about this without taking the plunge or acting rashly.
There will of course be cases where there is little that can be done to save a relationship, particularly where there is a history of domestic abuse (and in these circumstances you should seek immediate advice and assistance, from the police if necessary). However, if you are looking for a way to salvage your relationship or get some reassurance then there are a number of things that you can do.
Marriage counselling and therapy
Divorce lawyers can get a bad reputation as the architects and enablers of misery (again, thanks to the press) but the vast majority of us want to help our clients in any way that we can. If that means helping to facilitate a reconciliation then that is what we will do. At Edwards Family Law our number one priority is the happiness and wellbeing of our clients. We have connections with a number of counsellors and therapists that we can refer you to. It may be that your mental health is suffering and you need a way to explore these issues privately or you may wish to attend counselling as a couple to bottom out your issues. Even if this is not successful, sometimes knowing that you have explored all of the avenues to keep your marriage afloat can be comforting if divorce turns out to be inevitable.
Taking legal advice does not need to lead to separation or divorce, but arming yourself with the information so that you can prepare yourself for this eventuality can be empowering, whatever way you decide to go, knowledge is power after all. Click the following links for a brief overview of divorce, financial proceedings and children proceedings or get in touch for a no obligation, initial call today.
Mediation is becoming increasingly popular and being informed of it is an option is a prerequisite to issuing financial proceedings or children proceedings (subject to some limited exceptions). A mediator will act as a neutral third party to guide discussions between you and your spouse and it may well be that this forum helps you face the issues before you and come to a solution without needing to separate. If not, it is a cost effective and amicable way of attempting to reach a settlement. We know a number of excellent mediators that we can refer you to. Get in touch today for a free discussion about this.
A pre-nuptial agreement is entered into in anticipation of a marriage and sets out the financial arrangements upon divorce in a bid to protect assets and limit future litigation. Whilst a staple in many European countries for some time, they have only started to increase in popularity in England and Wales since the seminal 2010 case of Radmacher v Granatino. In this case, the Supreme Court confirmed that pre-nuptial agreements held substantial weight if a number of criteria were met. Saying this, a number of couples who may now be facing separation will not have a pre-nuptial agreement because it was not en vogue at the time of their marriage. There is a solution to this in the form of a post-nuptial agreement. The clue is in the name, the agreement is entered into after the parties are married and again, sets out the financial arrangements in the event of divorce. This can be particularly useful if you are in the dark about the matrimonial finances but do not wish to divorce. Sometimes, getting a clear picture and a guarantee of security in the event of divorce can help to save a marriage if financial worries are putting pressure on the relationship.
The process will involve disclosure and each party receiving independent legal advice. Obviously, this will require the cooperation of both parties which will not necessarily be forthcoming if one partner wishes to keep the other out of the financial picture but it can be an effective tool in the right circumstances. Get in touch today for some initial advice or read our summary of pre-nups & post-nups here.