The one question everyone wonders, but nobody asks
Loneliness, uncertainty, concern and confusion. All of these are natural emotions to feel when going through a divorce, regardless of how amicable the process may be. The dissolution of a marriage follows a set legal structure, where predictably the same questions are asked time and again. But there is one question that couples are often desperate to ask, but rarely do – “will I be alright?”
This may be due to embarrassment, or concern that it will be seen as a sign of weakness, but it could simply be that they just don’t realise this is what they really want to know, so the question remains unasked.
That’s why the role of the family lawyer is so important – we are not just here to provide legal advice, but to guide our clients through the whole process as smoothly as possible. A good lawyer will reassure their client that they will emerge from their current trauma, but will acknowledge that additional help may be needed from third parties such as financial advisers, life coaches or counsellors.
Of the more commonly asked questions, the majority involve the financial implications that occur when couples go their separate ways.
Below are three of the most common questions we are asked by our clients:
- Why should he/she share in the money I brought in to the marriage – e.g. from an inheritance?
How a couple’s joint finances are distributed depends initially upon each of their individual needs. For many this can be fairly cut and dry, whilst for others, such as those with inherited wealth, it can be far more complex.
- I didn’t want a divorce – why do I have to pay maintenance?
In resolving financial matters, the law generally does not take into account the reasons for the breakdown of a marriage. Therefore any financial settlement must be deemed to be fair, whilst giving priority to the welfare and needs of any dependent children.
When deciding maintenance payments, the following points are taken into account:
- Each partner’s needs, assets income and earning capacity
- The standard of living before the end of the marriage
- The length of the marriage and the age of the spouse seeking support
- Any special needs, such as a disability/health
- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage (for example, by looking after the home and bringing up children)
- How much will my divorce cost?
Costs can vary significantly, but as a general rule, the more that couples argue and deviate from seeking a practical solution, the greater the cost.
Clarity, guidance, information and support – all of these are part of the service that a good family lawyer can offer their client when they are going through a divorce – you just have to ask.
Was there a question that you wanted to ask your divorce lawyer, but felt that you couldn’t?