The first working Monday in January is “Divorce Day,” so named because it’s the most popular day of the year for people contacting lawyers about separation. There’s nothing like the combination of Christmas stress, January money worries, and thoughts of the future that a new year brings to make people reassess their marriage.
If you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you might want to wait until a different new year to save thousands of pounds. The new tax year starts on April 6 and brings with it ‘the biggest shake-up to divorce laws in 50 years’, says Toby Walne in The Mail on Sunday, allowing couples to divorce without anyone having to take it the blame.
The change means there will be no need for legal wrangling over who will take responsibility for the breakdown of the marriage, and no one will have to admit adultery or unreasonable behavior, or wait two years for a marriage or a civil partnership is concluded. be dissolved. Instead, both parties can jointly file for a divorce out of court.
“Abandoning fault-based divorce…should negate the need for difficult conversations in often emotional situations,” Prabhleen Kundhi, divorce and finance lawyer for IBB Law, told The Mail on Sunday. “It will remove an often costly part of separation.” Divorce legal fees can reach £400 an hour, but the change could allow couples to agree a divorce for as little as £300 and leave them to focus on issues such as children and parenting. arrangement of their future finances.
How to lower divorce costs
Waiting until the new tax year can also minimize tax liabilities. Completing the divorce within a year means there’s no capital gains tax to pay when you transfer investments between you and your ex-spouse, says Sarah Coles of Hargreaves Lansdown. If you are entering a new tax year, you may be liable.
There are several other things you can do to cut costs. Many lawyers now use online tools to gather all the information they need about you before your first meeting. This allows you to complete all of your forms at your own pace and won’t be part of your first meeting with your attorney, so you won’t be paying for their time while you take care of the administration. Look for a lawyer who is tech-savvy.
Remember that you are paying for your lawyer’s time every time you come in contact with him, so instead of sending him many emails with small questions, send one longer email with all the questions. you want to answer all at once, says Gemma Hope, director and attorney. at Partners in Family Law. Also consider whether your lawyer is the best point of contact. “For non-legal issues, a counselor, divorce coach, or financial advisor might be in a better position to help you.”
Don’t forget retreats
In addition to keeping your costs to a minimum, make sure you don’t lose out financially in the final settlement. Check that all your joint assets are included and don’t forget large amounts. Many couples forget to include pensions when calculating financial settlements or overlook the long-term impact of losing a pension.
There are about 115,000 divorces every year, but 28% of them don’t include alimony in the settlement, according to research by Legal & General. “A lot of people don’t know that a pension is considered a joint asset, even if only one spouse has built it up,” says Rebecca O’Connor of Interactive Investor, whose recent pension survey found nearly half of couples do not discuss pensions. during separation. “Often women will choose to take up the household and let their ex-husband keep the pension. At the time, that might seem like a good split, but when it comes to retirement income, the partner who took the property rather than the pension has no income to live on.