We are all used to reading the tabloid headlines about the latest warring wealthy couple as they become locked in an emotional battlefield.
Fighting a divorce is complicated and stressful. Whilst we always work with clients to achieve an amicable result (mediation being key), divorce cases do go to court and people do not always fight fair.
Gather and record your assets
Do not assume that your ex-partner will be honest and up-front about their assets. Create an all-inclusive schedule of the assets of the marriage.
If you think assets are being hidden speak to a forensic accountant (we have a team in-house) who is a specialist in identifying hidden assets and bringing them to light. If you are considering hiding assets – don’t do it. They are likely to be found and it could have an adverse effect on the final settlement.
A forensic accountant can also ascertain the true value of business assets including issues around how much income can be drawn from the business, liquidity and tax issues. There are various ways that business owners can manipulate the figures to present a deflated picture of the health of the business. Our forensic accountancy team assist us to ensure that this does not happen.
Assemble your team
You need a good team of people with you fighting your corner and giving you the support you need.
First off, get a good divorce lawyer; look for one with experience of handling contentious cases that have ended in court. Your lawyer will be the voice of reason and help you create the strategy you need to get the best outcome. It is essential that you have confidence and trust in them.
You may need to involve a variety of experts including financial advisors, surveyors, forensic accountants and a good lawyer will be able to guide you on who you need to call upon and when.
Ask your friends and family for support, although please do leave the legal advice to your lawyer. Counselling can also be invaluable to help you manage the negative emotions and anger about the proceedings – keeping you calmer and focused on the case.
Try to avoid moving out of the marital home
If you have children and expect to remain in the family home after the divorce try not to move out. It is important for the children to have stability and routine in what can be a very confusing and uncertain time. There can also be a tactical advantage to remaining in the home. That said don’t live your life for the litigation. If it is unsafe or simply unbearable to remain there consider other options. Perhaps speak to your lawyer before making this decision.
Moving out does not affect your financial claims but tactically you may have less negotiating power if your ex-partner is happy living in the house with the children now that you have moved out.
Be smart, not emotional
It is very important to approach a divorce with a rational and logical mind to make the best decisions for you and the family. Easier said than done, so this is where your divorce team comes in. A lawyer, financial advisors, a counsellor etc can help you to avoid emotionally charged decision making and instead focus on the battle at hand.
How we can help you
At Stowe Family Law, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with these types of cases. If you find yourself in a contentious divorce you will need a lawyer who is robust and fights your corner. Our lawyers are highly experienced in complex divorce cases often involving court proceedings, so we will have the right person for your case.