When you make the huge decision to separate there are many difficult decisions to make and arrangements to try and agree on. Even if both partners are mutually agreeing to the divorce, there can be a number of decisions that they do not agree on, from how finances and assets are split, to living arrangements and custody arrangements.
Discuss the decisions with your ex-partner
One way to help ensure decisions are made as smoothly and as cost-effectively as possible, is to discuss all your decisions with your ex-partner before you start hiring solicitors. You might have made assumptions about what outcomes the other partner wants and then start disagreeing about details while you are paying for solicitors’ time. Trying to come to an amicable agreement about the children’s living arrangements should be a top priority to help them to handle the changes better.
Dividing finances and pensions
It will save time if you have all of the financial information ready to go through with the solicitors, such as savings, any shares, pension plans etc. You should also try and compile a list of all of the assets and discuss with your ex-partner what their priorities are in terms of dividing the assets, to help work towards solutions that you are both happy with. Dividing pension plans can be complicated, so you may need advice from a financial adviser to help to decide how to divide any pensions and whether to offset other assets against it, for example.
As parents, deciding on your children’s living arrangements can be one of the most difficult parts of separation. In the best-case scenario, the children will remain living in their home for at least the majority of the time and continue going to the same school, rather than adding further disruption to their lives.
In many divorce settlements, there is an agreement that the children and the custodial parent can stay in the house until the children are aged 18, before then selling the house. Other arrangements include the custodial parent keeping the home and the other parent taking other assets to make living arrangements easier for the children.
How to tell your children about the divorce
How you break the news to your children is very important, as you can help to minimize their stress by working out together exactly what you are going to say. You should both be present when you announce that you are separating and try to show them that you are in agreement and describe some of the positives that can come from the changes. How much information you provide will depend on the age of your children, but generally it is better to leave out any information that might confuse or upset them.
Before you sit down to talk with your children, you and your ex-partner should try to agree on what you will say and how you will answer any questions they may have. Children often feel some way at fault when their parents separate, so an important area to discuss is that they have done nothing wrong, tell them that both of you love them very much and your relationships with them will not change in any way.
Having open and honest conversations about the future will help them to adjust to the changes faster and asking them if they have any questions should help them to talk through how they are feeling. There will be lots of hard decisions to make along the way, but the best approach is to try and make every decision around the welfare of your children.