You’ve decided to separate and divide your property, so what are your options:
Option 1 is to bring out the big guns, start the war, retain a lawyer each, and make an application to the court.
The result is that it will probably take a couple of years to reach a final settlement, there will be numerous conferences with your lawyers and court hearings, it will cost each of you a fortune in legal fees, court filing fees and possibly lost income, so your assets will be depleted, your stress levels will rise to a frightening height, and you will probably never speak to each other again.
Option 2 is to retain a lawyer each, consider making an application to the court, decide to go through a mediation in an attempt to reach a resolution as to how your assets and liabilities are to be divided.
The result is that you will hopefully reach an agreement at mediation so your lawyers can draw up an agreement, your legal fees will be much lower, it will be over in a shorter period of time so your stress levels will be manageable and you will more than likely be able to continue a civil relationship into the future which will be of benefit to your children.
Option 3 is to take a sensible, mature, adult approach, sit down at the dining room table, tot up your assets and liabilities and agree how they are to be divided, and retain one lawyer to draw up your agreement. If there is no dispute then there is no conflict of interest in one lawyer acting for both parties. Believe me, a lot of couples can do this.
The result is that your legal fees will be much, much lower (share a lawyer, halve the cost), the agreement will be finalised within a few months, there will be very little stress, you will most likely remain friends into the future and your children will thank you for saving them sadness, upheaval and stress.
So which option will you take if you are faced with a separation and property settlement? Many couples believe that as soon as they separate they must each go off to a separate lawyer for advice, but in truth a competent family lawyer can give advice to both parties providing they can reach an amicable agreement as to their property division. This is a more sensible path to follow, rather than seeking advice from family and friends who have gone through a similar experience, and having your expectations raised unrealistically as to what you can expect. Remember every case is different, so the results will differ.
I have now launched a membership site for like-minded family lawyers who would like to do what I do, and build up a national family law practice.
Read more about the membership site here
Lyn Lucas is the owner of Online Divorce Lawyer. With almost 25 years experience in family law Lyn empathises with couples going through a separation and a property settlement. Her focus with Online Divorce Lawyer is to reduce the pain and deliver excellent results in the process of a property settlement. With a negotiated fixed fee for this service, couples have certainty as to their legal costs. Visit Lyn’s site and opt in for a complimentary e-book “Guide to Saving Money with a Divorce Property Settlement”