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The Benefit of Using a Lawyer in the Divorce Process

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Whilst more people are now making their own divorce application online, there are potential pitfalls to bear in mind. Instructing a lawyer to deal with the divorce on your behalf ensures that you will receive the right advice to keep your divorce proceedings on track.

A lawyer will also be able to help you with the financial aspects of your divorce. This is important because both parties will be looking for financial certainty for the future.

For most families, the main asset is the family home. One party may be able to buy out the other’s share in the property or the home may need to be sold either now or at an agreed future date and the net sale proceeds divided between them. There may be other assets such as funds in bank accounts, savings, investments, other properties and pensions, which need to be identified, valued and divided between the parties to reach a fair outcome. Liabilities also need to be taken in to account.

Many people are unaware that they may have a claim in relation to their spouse’s pension. Recent case law has confirmed that all pension provision may be taken into account, including contributions prior to a marriage and post-separation if it is required to meet the needs of the parties. In many cases a report by a pension expert will be required to make the relevant calculations and recommendations, and a lawyer will be able to arrange this service.

Without a lawyer’s advice, some people may ignore pensions altogether or may opt to offset pensions against the value of the family home in order to continue living there. However, this means that in retirement, they could have limited pension income and may have to downsize their house to release capital to live off.

Once an agreement has been reached a lawyer will need to set out the agreement in legal terminology in a financial consent order, which is then sent for approval by a District Judge. Once the order is approved, it will be stamped with the court seal as a binding order.

Seeking legal advice at an early stage to agree a strategy to resolve financial aspects is advantageous for both parties to achieve a cost-proportionate outcome.