Divorce and Separation Checklist

Divorce and Separation Checklist
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Emma Alfieri
Emma Alfieri
Legal Director
Greene & Greene Solicitors

Since the changes to divorce law (in England and Wales) on 6th April 2022, it is now relatively straight forward for individuals to obtain a divorce on-line. The welcome changes have helped parties to navigate the divorce process in a more simplified way meaning individuals going through the divorce process no longer have to consult a divorce lawyer.

Whilst the new ‘fault free’ divorce law has been beneficial to divorcing couples in saving costs and reducing conflict, there are a worrying number of individuals who now take no legal advice whatsoever. This is concerning in relation to dividing the family finances as becoming divorced does not ‘close off’ financial matters and therefore financial claims are often left open, with the individuals blissfully unaware.

Therefore we would always advise individuals going through divorce to have at least one session of legal advice so they have full knowledge of the perils and pitfalls of divorce.  Below are some key points :

Seek early legal advice

It is important to seek legal advice early.  An initial consultation can be invaluable and is often much less daunting than one might think. Family lawyers are very ‘normal’ people who will listen and not judge.

Therapy/ counsellor

If there is a possibility of getting the relationship back on track, a joint marriage counsellor or therapist may be useful. If the relationship is over, an individual therapist or counsellor can help individuals to work through the issues surrounding the separation and to help to deal with the transition.

Try to keep things amicable

Try to be pragmatic and reasonable where possible as this will make the separation much easier to deal with. Try and work together, particularly where there are children involved. Arguing over minor issues and matters of principle will increase conflict, stress and costs, and is rarely productive.

Living arrangements

Consider where both parties will live. Will this be in the same house together?  Sometimes this will be a necessity and is another reason to try and minimise the tension.  Alternatively, if one person will leave then a plan should be put in place for who that will be, where will they go and how two households will be funded.

Arrangements for children

The initial arrangements for the care of the children will be a priority. Take time to consider when and where they will see each parent.  Having an agreed plan in place from the offset will ensure it is as stress-free as possible for the whole family.  A parenting plan could help – Parenting Plan – Cafcass – Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service

Reaching agreements

If a financial agreement is reached between the parties, ensure the agreement is formalised in writing, and embodied into a Financial Remedy Order. If the agreement is verbal or not formalised in the correct way, beware – it will not be a binding agreement.

Alternatives to court

There are many alternatives to Court which should be considered to avoid court and reduce the tension, particularly where there are children involved.

Do not forget about pensions

The sharing of pensions is just as important as the sharing of capital assets such as property and must not be overlooked.  A Pension on Divorce Expert may need to be involved.

Financial and tax advice

It may be useful to speak to an accountant in relation to capital gains tax issues, for example, if more than one property is owned or if one party moves out and lives elsewhere, there could be adverse tax consequences.


It is important to consider making or updating any Will previously made to ensure that those named to inherit are still correct. It is also worthwhile considering death in service benefits under any pension provision.

This article is only intended to be a summary and not specific legal advice.

Read more articles by Emma Alfieri.

About Emma Alfieri

Emma Alfieri is a Legal Director at Suffolk firm Greene & Greene Solicitors.

Emma advises on all aspects of family law, including divorce and associated financial matters, disputes between cohabitants and child related disputes.

A member of Resolution, Emma is committed to resolving disputes as positively and agreeably as possible whilst also being motivated to obtain the best possible outcome for her clients.

Since 2012 Emma has been consistently recommended by the Legal 500 on an annual basis and in the most recent 2024 edition Emma is ranked as a “rising star”.

As an advocate of fault free divorce, Emma lobbied at Parliament with other members of Resolution in 2016 to bring about the recent changes to divorce law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.