HM Insights

Brexit "divorce negotiations" and family law – choosing the most appropriate way forward

Whilst I am sure most of the nation probably shares my sense of "Brexit fatigue", one aspect of the current debate captured my interest as having parallels with the process clients face upon separation with a view to divorce.

"We did not know what we were voting for," seems to be a common refrain these days, certainly on one side of the political debate. A decision was made by many on whether or not there ought to be a divorce without there being sufficient thought and planning around what the future might look like.

It struck me that sometimes clients of the family law team are in a similar predicament; they know that the separation is something that needs to happen, whether they wished it to happen or not, but there is little or no guidance available to them to enable informed choices to be made.

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This is the point at which choice of solicitor becomes crucial. A skilled advisor will have the experience and knowledge not just to advise on the legal framework but also how that framework can be used to help clients achieve the future they wish to emerge.

Legal terms such as "separation", "divorce", "matrimonial property", "asset protection", "residence", "court", "aliment", "periodic allowance", "litigation" and so on can be bewildering for the client who only knows that their relationship has run its course and that they need to work out childcare and financial arrangements.

Focusing on what you want the future to look like

By focusing in the initial discussions on what your future hopes and aspirations are it can help a strategy for the case to emerge, leading to a more cost-effective and efficient process.

To give examples, being upfront about an intention to re-train and return to work may help a spouse receive sufficient financial support to enable them to do that whilst at the same time reassuring the spouse who has a decent income that their responsibility to provide ongoing support to their estranged partner or spouse will be clearly defined at an earlier stage than if there needed to be a debate about legal rights and responsibilities. A preference to sell a business rather than retain shares in an ongoing concern might avoid the need to obtain expensive valuations.

Focusing on the question "What will the future look like?" is helpful for both clients and their solicitor to focus upon if the difficult process of ending a relationship is to made as positive, or at least as close to painless as it can possibly be.

Get in touch

The Harper Macleod family team are experienced, sensitive and pragmatic. We focus on what can be achieved rather than what cannot, and will always endeavour to provide clear, effective advice in a supportive way.

If you would like to have a confidential discussion with a member of the team about what you would like your future to look like, please call 0141 221 8888 and ask to speak with a member of the family law team.