Further free £500 Mediation Vouchers announced! The Ministry of Justice has already spent just over £3m (plus admin costs) on the £500 max Voucher Scheme to date. They have committed to yet more expenditure on these...
Although I am very good it’s essential that, from time to time, for you to work with others.
Just as it ‘takes a village to bring up a child’, it takes a team to get you properly separated and/or divorced.
It will save you money if you use the right person for the right job. Each member of the team has specific experience and training. They charge at different rates. All you have to do is choose who you want to work with and get them on board with your separation journey. It isn’t more expensive to use a team. It’s usually more expensive not to.
For example, don’t use me as your friend or therapist; I deal with the law or helping you sort out arrangements for your money and children. I am a good listening ear but I am expensive. So think about other experts who can help.
All of my clients receive the Workbooks, Our Family in Two Homes (if you have children) and Our Family in a Few Homes (if you have no dependent children). These are like a team member as you work on your own and with me to really sort out what’s going on, what you need and what’s important to you.
Family consultant, counsellor or therapist
You are likely to need a family consultant, counsellor or therapist (or maybe all three) to sort out your emotions and the fall out of the relationship breakdown.
Breaking up is an emotional event with legal consequences.
It’s absolutely essential that you take care of your emotional wellbeing. Otherwise, it’s really hard to do a good job of all of this. How can you sort anything out when you are feeling a mess? Use the therapist when needed; let them help you. They are very good value for money. Let them know you want to be kept on track.
If you have children, you also need to be able to concentrate on their needs too.
I can make a recommendation for you of someone that would be just right to help.
- Parenting Expert
Sometimes one or both of you may need some help with parenting. There may be allegations of poor parenting. These can be for all sorts of reasons:
- They experienced poor parenting as a child;
- They have mental health problems;
- They haven’t had much to do with the children because of work commitments.
Sometimes, there is no basis for the allegations of poor parenting; working with a parenting expert can re-assure the other parent.
The best of parents would benefit from working with a parenting expert or coach.
The parenting expert can work with the parent and child(ren) and report back. Even giving tips on how to be a better parent in real time (via mics and earpieces). There can be follow up sessions so that parenting improves.
I can make a recommendation for you.
- Divorce coach
A divorce coach specialises in helping you focus on redesigning your future, your new single life. They use techniques and strategies to help you imagine and obtain that life. Often, they have experienced divorce themselves and have learned from their own experiences. They’ll help you navigate the process you choose so that ultimately you can move forward more positively and confidently.
- Money help
Most people will need some help to understand their money both now and in the future. Most of us need this help in normal circumstances, though most of us never get the help we need. During a break-up this help is even more critical. Right now, the help of a financial coach, financial planner and/or an Independent Financial Advisor or similar is essential.
It’s very common for one of you to take all the responsibility for the everyday and future finances. They are often happy to do so. (This is not to be confused with financial control which is abusive). They feel comfortable making financial arrangements and decisions; often they are comfortable with numbers.
The other person may not have been involved with all or any of the financial dealings. They know roughly what’s going on but not the detail. Obviously, they will need help getting to grips with the current financial situation. They’ll have to play a bit of catch up with the person who has been dealing with everything.
This is a big ask. Not only will the person who is unfamiliar with everything have to gather the information needed but they will also have to understand it. This may well feel terrifying. A financial coach helps you build a better relationship with money and feel calmer, more in control and confident about the finances.
You will be asked to work out what your current and future needs are. These will include somewhere to live, what income you will need, what investments and pensions you need to retire on. There may be options to consider and a financial coach and planner can help you with these very important questions.
As part of our work together, you will be asked to collate all your current financial information (with documentary evidence). You will then work out your monthly outgoings (called income needs) are now and what you estimate them to be in the future. This takes many hours to do and it’s very easy to underestimate what you need.
Then you’ll need to think about what your future will look like. You will have to try to imagine yourself maybe living somewhere new. Possibly working for the first time in a while. Or you may have to continue working in a job you don’t much enjoy to make sure there is enough money to go around. Much of this will feel almost impossible. This why you’ll need all the help you can get.
Most usually a financial neutral will work with you together in the collaborative, mediation and One Solicitor: One Couple processes but often they can work with you on your own. But the neutral can work in all sorts of divorce processes. The financial neutral works for both of you. Meeting with you separately and together depending on what you choose to do.
They work in a neutral capacity, to bring financial expertise to your negotiations and discussions. They can help you to gather all the relevant financial information and to understand it; to generate options for settlement and to test them out. Unless you agree, they won’t implement any of the finances once agreement is reached.
Your own independent financial (IFA) advice
You will need to understand how things will look for yourself and an IFA is great at this; what are all the different sorts of assets and what do they mean for you. What will you do with the pension share? What to do with cash and shares? How will you invest any money you get for the future? A financial planner or Independent Financial Advisor can put into place any financial arrangements you decide.
This kind of activity is regulated by the Financial Services Conduct Authority (FSA).
Pensions on Divorce Expert (PODE)
PODEs are specially qualified to provide you with a report to recommend a fair pension share upon divorce/dissolution. A report on your pension division is essential and not something to be skimped on to save time or costs.
I can help you find someone that I know to be efficient and helpful.
Accountants and tax experts
If there’s a family business, we will likely need to instruct a forensic accountant to work out its value. I will help you identify the best person for the job and write the letter of instruction to them.
Often the transfer or sale of assets will attract Capital Gains Tax; we will need an expert to tell us what the liability is likely to be and then we can factor that into our settlement ideas.
Indeed, all taxes including income tax will need to be considered and possibly an expert instructed to work out what they are or will be.
There are support groups who can offer a group forum for you to share your experiences and give you a good steer. It’s great to meet (online or in person) with people who are going through the same thing as you.
Only Mums and Only Dads provide such excellent services, as do Netmums and Family Lives. Please avoid more militant groups who talk only about your parental rights rather than the related responsibilities.
Friends and family
Do get support from your family and friends. They can be a helpful listening ear and can be with you when it all feels too much.
But be careful as they may not understand what’s going on for you individually. They may offer spurious advice based on incorrect information and assumptions. But yes, get their support but not about the legal outcomes.
See those I work with locally at Sussex Family Solutions.