For richer, for poorer – the practicalities of separation in a recession

As the financial nightmare of recession continues to loom large, many unhappy, cash-strapped couples have postponed their divorce due to lack of funds. But as the frustrations for husbands and wives of living in limbo become unsustainable, we, among many family lawyers are seeing an upsurge in people who can no longer wait to separate.

For too many middle income families though, the prospect of a clean-break divorce is simply unachievable, and couples, and their lawyers, are being forced to be ever more innovative to achieve a settlement.

A toxic mix of increasing prices, redundancies, threats to job security, tougher lending criteria by mortgage lenders and adult children continuing to live at home well into their early twenties, have conspired to lead to a change in middle-income divorce settlement solutions. For many, that settlement often includes keeping some sort of financial relationship between the separating couple.

Among such arrangements are orders for sale of the former matrimonial home, where the sale is postponed until the youngest child reaches 18 or finishes full time education or training . 

Traditionally, like most family lawyers, we have tried to avoid these sorts of orders because of the inherent difficulties they can cause. Very often the upshot is that the wife is forced to sell the family home – or raise capital to buy out her former husband’s interest – at a time in her life when she may struggle to get mortgage finance.

We know that divorce can be a financial minefield as well as a traumatic experience. So at Jones Myers we take time to discuss all your options and to create a route map towards a resolution that will minimise the financial and emotional cost to you and avoid financial arrangements that create further pain and disruption, now and in the future.

A highly experienced family law team, we pride ourselves on talking through the issues with clients and giving sound advice that is right for each individual and family, whatever your circumstances.

The collaborative approach, which we’re proud to have been one of the pioneers of here in Leeds, can provide a more civilised and less costly solution for many couples. Collaborative Family Law aims to reach a settlement amicably, and without going to court. It is also often a far speedier way to separate – which can be a huge benefit for couples trapped in the limbo of enforced co-habitation.

Alternatively, we have an enviable reputation for our non-confrontational approach and negotiating solutions to emotionally complex problems.

For more information, or to share your thoughts, contact us here.

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