10 steps you MUST take if you’re splitting up
1. Care of children will be the main focus of your divorce negotiations. But then comes sorting out your finances and where you both will live.
2. You can arrange your own divorce without involving solicitors – if your divorce is straightforward and you both agree the reasons for splitting up. The court fee for a divorce is £550 in England and Wales. The rules are slightly different in Scotland and Northern Ireland, see www.scotcourts.gov.uk or www.courtsni.gov.uk.
3. Consider mediation to sort out financial and custody concerns rather than solicitors. This also applies if you’re not married but the co-habiting relationship has ended. Mediation means you don’t need to go to court and judges will often expect you to try mediation before you do so.
4. Separating will involve totting up your joint assets so you can work out how to split them. You’ll need to provide statements for all your savings accounts, pensions and so on - and your partner’s. This includes assets you own individually and jointly.
5. Your home will be (probably) your biggest asset. You’ll need to get it valued and a statement from your mortgage lender of your outstanding mortgage. Big-ticket items such art, jewellery or furniture will also need to be added in.
6. You’ll also need details of your debts on credit cards, loans and so on.
7. Whoever sorts your divorce will work out any maintenance payments. To get a fair deal, you’ll have to show exactly how much it costs to run your house by providing copies of utility bills and so on.
8. Once divorced, you’ll need to open accounts in your own name if you don’t have any already. Tell credit reference agencies such as Experian that you are divorced so you can build your own rating – and disassociate with your former spouse’s finances.
9. Change your will once the divorce is completed. See our Quick Guide to Wills here.
10. Check out what benefits are available. If you’re now the only adult in the household, you should get a council tax discount. You may also be eligible for child benefit or working tax credits if your income has reduced. Find out more here.
- Find a mediator (and ask them how much they charge) here.
- Help on finding a solicitor and general advice is available from the Law Society here.
- Get the full legal lowdown at www.gov.uk/divorce and more information for going to court without a lawyer at www.advicenow.org.uk.
Last updated 8 January 2018.