Melanie Pilmer Family Solicitor at Greene & Greene suggests 10 important issues to consider at the early stages of separation:-
1. Bank Accounts
You need to consider if any joint accounts are to be closed or whether overdraft facilities on those accounts need to be restricted. If the joint account is still in use it would be sensible to agree what payments will go in and out from it.
2. Credit Cards
Consider whether there are any second cards that need to be cancelled, if a shared credit card is still going to be used agree what items of expenditure can be put on it and who will pay the debt.
3. Living Arrangements
Will you both still live in the house together? Sometimes this will be a necessity. Consider any practical steps you can take to make this easier for you both. Alternatively if one person will leave then who will that be and where will they go. Consider how you will fund two households.
4. Interim Payments
Consider the arrangements for Child Support and whether those can be agreed or if a Child Maintenance Service assessment will need to be made. If there are no children or if Child Support payments are insufficient to cover one party’s financial needs then consider any additional support that may be needed by way of Interim Spousal Maintenance.
What will the initial arrangements be for the care of the children? When and where will they see each of you?
6. Parenting Plan
Consider how you will make joint decisions in relation to the children in the future. You might want to draw up a parenting plan. You can find one at www.splittingup-putkidsfirst.org.uk. This is a written or online agreement which helps you to record how you will share the care of your children now and in the future. It can be as detailed as you like and can also include issues such as how and when the children would be introduced to any new partners.
7. Considering Other Help You May Need
Consider a marriage counsellor if you feel that would help in trying to get a relationship back on track. If the relationship is at an end then a family therapist or family consultant or counsellor could help you work through issues surrounding the separation and communication.
8. Tax Issues
If you own more than one property or one of you moves out and lives elsewhere then it is essential that you take early advice as otherwise there may be adverse tax consequences arising.
9. Financial Advice
You may need to take early advice from a financial advisor or accountant in relation to managing budgets for two households. You may need advice from an accountant in relation to capital gains tax arising in respect of properties or company assets. You may need financial advice from an independent financial advisor in relation to pensions.
It is important to consider making or updating any Will you have after a separation. You may also want to consider death in service benefits under any pension provision.
Melanie, a solicitor with Greene & Greene Solicitors, advises in relation to a full range of family matters including divorce and associated financial matters, cohabitation disputes, children matters and Pre-Nuptial Agreements.
She is a collaboratively trained lawyer and member of Resolution – First for Family Law. She has significant experience in relation to resolving complex financial disputes often involving business assets and a considerable amount of my practice consists of negotiating and preparing Nuptial Agreements.