Post Christmas “Divorce Bills” in More Ways Than OnePosted: 29th January 2020

A well quoted phrase in Family law circles is that there is a post Christmas rush as couples decide to call time on their relationship having spent a “last Christmas” either trying to resolve their problems or giving children a memorable holiday season before everything changes…

Whether this is true or not is hotly debated but the reality for any couple ending their marriage or relationship at this time of year or at any other is that costs can be significant (in the worst cases between £20-70,000) particularly if couples can`t agree how to deal with property, pensions and other assets.

Julia Middleton of Durham and Gosforth based EMG Solicitors and who is ranked in the Legal 500 says that when clients approach her after Christmas for advice on splitting up, she is keen to show them that there are many ways to make it less stressful and less costly.

This can include using a process called Collaborative Law which avoids the need for couples to go to court. It may also now be made easier if the new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill, currently working its way through Parliament, is made law.

“Whether it`s after Christmas or at other times of the year, couples who are struggling will, at some point, take a long hard look at their relationship and realise they don`t want to stay together anymore.” said Julia.

“Hopefully if the law is updated in the new Divorce Bill it will mean that the “blame game” will at least be removed as either person will be able to tell the court that the marriage has broken down and not have to rely on the consent of the other person, uncomfortable facts such as adultery or unreasonable behaviour or wait for 2 years or longer to apply for divorce”

“As costs can mount very quickly, it`s also important to try and show couples that there is a simpler and hopefully more preferable way to get the legal processes moving and deal with the practical aspects of separating. This is why Collaborative Law can be a helpful way for couples to sort things out.”

With the estimated time for a divorce estimated to be at least 6 months under the new law, any practical steps couples can take to deal with other issues together can help move matters along.

Collaborative law allows couples splitting up to meet face to face with their legal representatives present. Matters can be dealt with round a table with each person having the reassurance of having their solicitor present and without the trauma and expense of having to go to court.

“Collaborative law can reduce tension and hostility as people have to meet face to face. In some cases it can actually improve their ongoing relationship. If the Divorce bill is passed into law, it could mean that the usual first battle of who is to blame is removed making it easier for couples to let down their guard and work together to resolve financial matters.” said Julia.

Julia is head of a rapidly growing team of Family solicitors at EMG who are all experienced in dealing with every aspect of divorce and related financial issues in a way that is non-confrontational.