Advice for someone who's in shock after surprise split(11 Posts)
It's not me Sweet Petite, but my friend is up and down, it's so hard for her
The important thing is to separate emotions from the practicalities using a counsellor if necessary. Progress can often be made more quickly and less expensively if separating couples make interim arrangements and allow each other time to adjust to the emotional realities before tackling the long term arrangements for children and finances. The process of separating and making arrangements often takes considerably longer than people expect. However, it is still a good idea to see a family solicitor early on to find out where you stand and what the options are in your particular circumstances.
If you were not married you need to be careful because divorce laws don't apply. The starting point for unmarried couples is property law and the ownership of any property is determined by the deeds. When the house is owned jointly it is assumed each party has an equal share of any equity unless the deeds state otherwise. Co-habitants can't make financial claims against each other so there is only child maintenance and no spouse maintenance or pension sharing. In some circumstances it may be possible to make claims under the Children Act 1989 for a home to be provided for dependent children and their main carer until the child reaches 18 or finishes uni. This is a complicated and therefore expensive area of law and you really need advice from a solicitor.
This happened to me 6 weeks ago. I'm still in shock but its getting better, I have a thread on here entitled husband left me for his ex girlfriend. Take care.x
this is the info Olgaga usually posts
Relationship Breakdown and Divorce Advice and Links
It is useful if you can get to grips with the language of family law and procedure, and get an understanding of your rights, BEFORE you see a solicitor. If you are well prepared you will save time and money.
If there are children involved, their welfare, needs and interests are paramount. Parents have responsibilities, not rights, in this regard. Shared residence means both parties having an equal interest in the upbringing of the children. It does not mean equal (50/50) parenting time - children are not possessions to be fairly divided between separating parents.
A divorce will not be granted where children are involved unless there are agreed arrangements for finance, and care of the children (Statement of Arrangements for Children). It is obviously quicker and cheaper if this can be agreed but if there is no agreement, the Court will make an Order - Residence and Contact regarding children, Financial Order or Ancillary Relief in the case of Finance. Information and links to these can be found in the Directgov link below. Residence and Contact Orders are likely to be renamed Child Arrangements Orders in future.
Always see a specialist family lawyer!
Get word of mouth recommendations for family lawyers in your area if possible. If you have children at school, ask mums you are friendly with if they know of anyone who can make a recommendation in your area. These days there are few people who dont know of anyone who has been through a divorce or separation theres a lot of knowledge and support out there!
Many family lawyers will offer the first half hour consultation free. Make use of this. Dont just stick with the first lawyer you find shop around and find someone you feel comfortable with. You may be in for a long haul, so it helps if you can find a solicitor youre happy with.
If you cant find any local recommendations, always see a solicitor who specialises in Family Law.
You can also find out about Legal Aid and get advice on the Community Legal Advice Helpline on 08345 345 4 345
Co-operative Legal Services offer DIY/Self-Help Divorce packages, as well as a Managed Divorce service. Their fee structure is more transparent and they have a telephone advice line as well as offering really good advice on their website:
You can read advice and search by area for a family lawyer here:
You will also read good advice and find a family lawyer here:
Some family law solicitors publish online feedback from clients Google solicitors to see if you can find any recommendations or feedback.
You will be encouraged to attend mediation. This can help by encouraging discussion about arrangements for children and finance in a structured way in a neutral setting. However, it only works if both parties are willing to reach agreement.
If there has been violence or emotional abuse, discuss this with your solicitor first. Always get legal advice, or at the very least make sure you are aware of your legal rights, before you begin mediation. This is important because while a Mediator should have knowledge of family law, and will often explain family law, they are not there to give tailored legal advice to either party - so its important to have that first.
Married or Living Together?
This is a key question, because if you are married, generally speaking you have greater protection when a relationship breaks down.
Legal Issues around marriage/cohabitation and relationship breakdown are explained here:
DirectGov advice on divorce, separation and relationship breakdown:
Legal Rights and issues around contact are further explained here:
I found these guides from law firms quite informative and easy to read there are others of course:
Before you see a family law solicitor, get hold of every single piece of financial information you have access to, and take copies or make notes. Wage slips, P60s, tax returns, employment contracts, pensions and other statements savings, current account and mortgages, deeds, rental leases, utility bills, council tax bills, credit statements. Are there joint assets such as a home, pensions, savings, shares?
If you have no access to financial information, or you are aware that assets are being hidden from you, then obviously you will not be able to reach agreement on finances. If there are children, as you cannot divorce without adequate arrangements being agreed on finance and children, you will have to apply for a financial order anyway. If there are no children, and you are unable to agree on finances, you will also have to apply for a financial order (follow the Direct.gov links below). This seeks financial information from both parties going back 12 months. So it is in your interests to act quickly once you have made the decision to divorce.
If you are married, the main considerations of the Family Courts where parties are unable to agree a settlement are (in no particular order of priority):
1.The welfare of any minor children from the marriage.
2.The value of jointly and individually owned property and other assets and the financial needs, obligation and responsibilities of each party.
3.Any debts or liabilities of the parties.
4.Pension arrangements for each of the parties, including future pension values and any value to each of the parties of any benefit they may lose as a result of the divorce.
5.The earnings and earning potential of each of the parties.
6.Standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.
7.The age of the parties and duration of the marriage.
8.Any physical or mental disability of either of the parties.
9.Contributions that each party may have made to the marriage, either financially or by looking after the house and/or caring for the family.
CSA maintenance calculator:
Handy tax credits calculator:
Handy 5 Minute benefit check, tax and housing benefit calculators:
Other Support for Women Children, Housing, Domestic Violence
www.womensaid.org.uk/ and refuge.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 2000 247
www.ncdv.org.uk/ - Helpline 0844 8044 999
www.gingerbread.org.uk/ - Helpline 0808 802 0925
(Note that there is usually an appropriate link on these websites for England, Wales and Scotland where the law, advice and contact information may differ
Excellent advice from many others too!
There are two other threads in relationships titled 'My husband has been having an affair and is leaving me', and 'He wanta to separate' that are full of practical advice and links from MNer called Olgaga. It is brilliant advice. Good luck.
What advice would you give someone if their partner of twelve years had without warning asked to end the relationship with no hope for reconciliation?
- what practical advice?
- what advice to get through mentally?
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