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10 things to consider when separating

Published on 20 April 2022 | Modified on 14 December 2022

Written by Stacey Bennett

Splitting up is an extremely emotionally charged and stressful experience. It can be difficult to know which way to turn and what to do first, especially in long-term relationships where there can be many assets to split and intertwined lives to unweave. There is no such thing as a magic checklist for these situations, but here we list some of the most common things you need to consider when you split up:

  1. Formalising the separation – Unmarried couples do not need to formally separate, although may choose to enter into a Separation Agreement. Married couples may consider divorce, and the new “no fault” divorce legislation is now in place, enabling divorce to be as amicable as possible.
  2. Children – Parents may try to shield their children from separation, but it is likely they will still feel the pressures and emotions involved. The children’s welfare remains paramount, and it is important to consider who the children will live with, and how often they will spend time with the other parents
  3. Living arrangements – It can be tough living with a partner following separation, and so you may decide one of you will leave the home and live elsewhere. You will also need to consider the long term living arrangements, and whether the home will be sold, or whether one partner will buy the other out of the home.
  4. Interim finances – These are especially important to consider if one partner decides to leave the home, as the remaining partner may be left with the bulk of the household bills, which they may not be able to afford alone. Hopefully an agreement can be reached as to how the household bills are covered, if not, court intervention may be required.
  5. Long term finances – It is important when separating that the long term financial picture is considered too. Any agreement reached should be set out in a Consent Order, as this will conclude the financial matters, and help prevent any future financial claims from your partner following divorce.
  6. Getting organised – Collating you documents together, particularly in relation to finances, can help to ensure a smoother process when separating. Make sure to keep copies of your financial documents in a safe place, and start to make a list of your assets and liabilities.
  7. Life insurance/death benefits – Many couples nominate their partners as beneficiaries for life insurance policies/death benefits, and separating from a partner does not automatically change this. Following separation, your wishes may change, so it is important this is reflected in any policies/benefits.
  8. Wills – Separating from a partner does not automatically change your will, so you may wish to consider updating it. If you do not currently have a will, and you are not yet divorced, your partner will be entitled to your assets under the rules of intestacy, so it is important to consider making a will upon separation.
  9. Mental health – Separating is a stressful time in anybody’s life, no matter how amicable the split, so it is important to consider your mental health. Having support from family/friends can help to ease this stress and make separating easier to handle. You may also consider speaking to your GP or a counsellor for additional support.
  10. Legal advice – Getting legal advice and the support of the right solicitor can make separating a smoother and less stressful process. Divorce, particularly finances, can be complicated, but our experienced solicitors can help guide you through the process.

Please contact Poole Alcock if you need Separation & Divorce Solicitors, we are here to help whatever the situation.

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