There has been no end of press coverage over the last 12 months about the political changes which are taking place across the UK and the World generally. The election of President Trump has left many Americans wondering whether they will be better or worse off – financially and socially.  The British have decided to leave the European Union and are eagerly awaiting information as to what that will actually entail and how it will impact on their wallet and their business interests.

With all of this uncertainty it is not surprising that many people I speak to, who had been contemplating separating from their partner, are now choosing to ‘wait and see’. Generally people like routine and certainty. Separating or divorcing at any time creates an element of anguish and uncertainty, but when there are external factors adding to that uncertainty, it can make people extremely reluctant to change their current state of affairs.

On the flip side, there are some that want to deal with matters quickly before any impact that Brexit has takes effect. Some simply feel that remaining within their current relationship situation for the foreseeable future is too much of a sacrifice even if there may be some financial consequences later on.

So what is the right decision? Should people wait and see or, if their relationship really has come to an end, should they just proceed regardless of the political climate?  On balance, I would say the latter; although I fully understand why people are hesitant to do so.  I am, by nature, a ‘you only live once’ type of person, and I believe that usually (and I speak from recent experience) you cannot put a price on the emotional benefit that comes with ending an unhappy marriage or relationship and moving forward.  There may never be a ‘right time’ to deal with matters.  House prices may fluctuate yet again, one person in the relationship may have a reduction in income, there may be other events that turn your World upside down which cannot be foreseen, which is why I think we have to deal with matters based on the here and now but also consider and put in place security for the future.

I am able to assist clients in coming to a financial agreement with their former partner or spouse which enables both parties to move forward without the level of animosity that can come about as a result of protracted court proceedings. Of course, there are situations where formal Court proceedings are necessary to sort out the financial arrangements, but I believe that when people are a little more uncertain about the economic future they are less inclined to spend what money they do have on lengthy Court proceedings.   If clients are prepared to listen to advice and come to an arrangement that is fair to both sides, then an agreement can usually be reached quickly and painlessly.

I would urge any couple ending their relationship to take some legal advice on any arrangements which they wish to put in place and to have a formal document drawn up by a family lawyer reflecting what has been agreed. This will provide certainty going forward and will prevent either party changing their mind later on.  Alternatively, if the relationship has deteriorated to such an extent that no arrangements can be discussed and no agreement can be reached, advice can be sought on how to approach matters and how to come to a resolution with the assistance of your solicitor.

No one can be certain about the World or the UK’s political/economic future. However, what you can do, whether you act now or later, is to have peace of mind that insofar as possible you provide for your own financial security going forward, which will mean that you can move on without the risk of the other person subsequently changing the ‘goal posts’ resulting in further preventable upheaval later on.

For legal advice please contact Laura Williams on 01905 730450 or e-mail lwilliams@thursfields.co.uk

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