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Considering a separation? Some useful guidance

Hello and welcome to a new year of family blogs from the team. We are starting off this year’s blog looking at what you might want to think about if you are considering a separation. This is something that many clients start to think about at the start of a new year so here is some useful guidance on what to consider.
Considering a separation, the first steps
The first steps are often the hardest. Making the decision to separate is never easy and we understand that. It can mean upheaval to all aspects of your life, whether that be sorting out accommodation, managing your finances and, in some cases, managing contact arrangements in relation to your children.

Step 1- is your relationship definitely over?

The first step is to consider whether the relationship is well and truly over. Is  there is a possibility of reconciliation?
For some clients they is absolute certainty that the relationship is over and for some clients it is less clear. There does not have to be a big event that signals the end of the relationship. For some clients that is the case but for others it is not. For some there has been a slow, gradual drifting apart. This can make it more difficult to identify the date of separation but I will come to that in another blog.
Some couples seek the assistance of a marriage counsellor, with a view to trying to establish whether or not the relationship is over.

Step 2- seek tailored advice

You have thought about things carefully and you have decided that the relationship is definitely over. You want to separate.
Dealing with financial and, in some cases, child related matters that arise as a result of a separation can take some time. Therefore, you should seek independent legal advice from a solicitor early on. A solicitor will take details of your circumstances and then provide you with tailored advice.

Step 3- consider your approach

Your solicitor will advise you of the options and the different approaches available to assist with resolving financial and/or child related matters. Some of the approaches include: –

Discussing matters directly with your spouse, civil partner or partner and then asking a solicitor to draft an agreement based on what you have agreed directly (this is known as an execution only or implementation only agreement); or

Mediation, where you and your spouse, civil partner or partner sit together in a room with an independent mediator who facilitates discussions between you to assist you in reaching your own agreement; or

A collaborative approach where although both you and your spouse, civil partner or partner are each  represented by solicitors, negotiations take place in meetings with the stated aim of finding a solution which works for the family as a whole; or

Traditional solicitor negotiation; or

Court action or Arbitration

There is quite a lot to think about at the outset but it is important to discuss your circumstances with a solicitor. We will be pleased to advise and guide you at this difficult time.
Please note that this blog just offers general guidance. It is not legal advice and it is not tailored to your circumstances. If you would like to speak to a member of the family law team, please do not hesitate to get in touch – 0131 200 1200.