Separation anxiety

Elaine MacDonald discusses how to take the heat out of a relationship break up

Divorce in Scotland can be a minefield and a daunting prospect for clients. The word ‘divorce’ casts fear into the minds of most married couples contemplating the end of a marriage or civil partnership.

Clients often come to me when their relationship has completely broken down. Passions are often running high, especially when children are involved. While there are a myriad of emotions that can surface during a divorce, the three most prominent are sadness, fear and anger.

Part of my role as their solicitor is to listen, empathise and counsel the client. A great deal of my time is spent dealing with my client’s emotions rather than the ‘legal work’ involved.

Financial concerns and worries over the children’s welfare are the most common fears.

Fortunately, there is a legal device that can take much of the heat out of such a situation – the Separation Agreement.

It’s an effective way for couples to reach agreement on sometimes complex and emotionally charged areas of dispute. Once resolved, these can be set out and recorded in a binding legal agreement.

This way the costs and time involved in litigation (court action) are greatly reduced as most issues are ironed out in the Agreement.

My job is to negotiate a favourable settlement for my client in terms of the division of matrimonial property and arrangements for the children. Clients are often surprised to find that matrimonial property includes pensions. These can be a hugely valuable asset and a safety net for later life; therefore careful advice is needed in this area.

The welfare of children must always be a primary concern. Therefore, arrangements for children need to be considered at the outset; in particular, who will look after the children, whether payments are made by one parent to support any children, and how long such arrangements will apply.

Other likely provisions will include spousal aliment, the matrimonial home, pension sharing and discharge of future claims and rights of succession.

When the terms of the Agreement have been reached both parties will sign and the Agreement will be sent to the public register for registration. This gives it the equivalence of a Court decree.

We can help

At MacDonald Lynch we understand the tensions and worries that come with a relationship breakdown. We can guide you through the process of separating your assets and negotiating practical settlements for your home, finances and arrangements for your children.

We understand that the end of a marriage or civil partnership is a very stressful and upsetting time. We endeavour to ease some of this stress and make sure that you get the right advice and the best outcome for you and your children.

We try to resolve matters as quickly and as amicably as possible. In our experience even the most difficult separations can be resolved without the need for Court action.

How much will it cost?

Every case differs so it is difficult to provide an indication of costs at the outset – that’s why we offer a free initial consultation. Thereafter we will be able to advise on costs and in some cases we can offer a fixed fee which allows the client to budget for their legal costs with no surprises at the end of the process.

If you need help with a separation please contact us for a confidential no obligation telephone consultation with one of our experienced solicitors. Call us today on 0141 649 9552.

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