It’s easy to look at high-profile divorce cases and get the wrong impression about divorce. Yes, celebrity divorces can end up costing billions. Yet, while some divorces can be expensive, they don’t need to be. Those extreme cases aren’t what should come to mind when you think of divorce.
Instead, imagine a sensible conversation between two adults who don’t want to be together anymore. Divorces can be amicable and they don’t have to cost a fortune. So, here’s how to make sure you avoid the common pitfalls of expensive divorces.
1. Sign a Prenuptial Agreement Before the Marriage — Or Before Your Next Marriage
Hindsight is 20/20 and, if you’re going through a divorce without a prenup, there’s not much you can do at this point. However, for those who are about to get married or for someone considering a second marriage, a prenup is a great way to avoid unnecessary arguments.
Prenups aren’t always foolproof, so be sure to contact a family law solicitor you can trust. You want to make sure that your prenup covers all possible situations.
It won’t be a pleasant conversation to have, but not having it will make a potential divorce all the more difficult. What’s more, it’s better to have that difficult conversation before the marriage than when the marriage is ending. Soberly preparing for the worst with someone you’re deeply in love with is a lot easier than arguing over money and assets with someone who you’re breaking up with.
2. Think Logically and Rationally, Not Emotionally
Marriage is about so much more than money, contracts and strict reason. The elephant in the room during any divorce case is the fact that the love that you and your ex-partner had is clouding your judgement.
Some may argue that this is something which women are more prone to than men. However, that sort of thinking is wrong. The truth is that any person has the potential to let their heart make decisions their brains should be making.
Your family home, that cupboard you built together, or your marriage jewelery: these things have a sentimental value which is impossible to measure. Yet, they also have a financial value which can and should be measured. It’s obvious that you can’t both get everything. So, don’t get blinded by your attachments to those things. Rather, focus on making sure that — financially — you get your fair share.
Asset valuations are crucial here, but don’t let one partner’s lawyer’s valuation dictate the rest of the proceedings. Instead, get a joint asset valuation — if possible. Lawyers and solicitors are there to help. They can also be a disinterested voice of reason in a situation when your own voice might be influenced by heightened emotion.
3. Know That Debt is Just as Important as Money and Assets
What a lot of couples are unaware of is how the debt of one partner can affect both people, even if the debt is just in one partner’s name. This is what the legal side of marriage means. That debt doesn’t go away, or automatically become one partner’s legal responsibility, just because the marriage is ending. In fact, if it’s not dealt with during the divorce, that debt can linger on and drag both partners down with it.
It doesn’t need to be that way. Be honest and make sure that your partner is honest as well. You shouldn’t jump to conclusions about your ex-partner, but assumption isn’t good enough, either.
You need to know about their debt or — hopefully — their lack of it. The best way to find out is to ask them. If they become difficult, it may well be because they are hiding their debt. The sad fact is that hidden debt is a common problem during a divorce.
4. Be Willing to Travel to Visit Family Law Solicitors in London or Another Big City
You can almost guarantee that any family law solicitor in London is going to be good. After all, with so many family law solicitors in London, the competition is going to be high. It’s not just that there are a lot of lawyers in London; it’s that three quarters of all the lawyers in the UK operate in the Greater London area.
This isn’t only the case for family law solicitors in London. Family law solicitors in any big city are forced to be better because of the increase in competition. It’s no surprise that New York State and California — two states with lots of big cities in them — have a disproportionately large number of lawyers working there.