Separating from your partner is daunting at any age, but arguably worse if you have been with your other half for a long time. Vale Life chats to the team at Bridgend family law firm, Melanie Lazarus & Co, to find out more.
There is a common trend for people to separate when the children have flown the nest and they find that they have little in common with each other when the distractions of family life have disappeared.
While the procedure for divorce is the same irrespective of the length of the marriage, the settlement of financial matters will differ if there has been a long union. If one spouse has given up work to look after the children, it may be a case that the non-working spouse should apply for maintenance. Maintenance orders normally last for a fixed term, allowing the non-working party time to retrain or to find work, or until that person attains pensionable age. At this point, the maintenance will cease and the alternate source of income will take its place.
Pension assets are more relevant to older divorcing couples. The courts will deal with pensions in three ways. A pension sharing order happens when a sum from one party’s pension fund is paid into the other party’s fund. Pension attachment orders occur where the party holding the pension directs the pension company to pay a sum to the other party each month. Alternatively, if there are enough assets, the court will offset the value of the pension against other assets, the equity in the home for example.
If you find yourself in this position there are some things that you can do to protect yourself. If your home is owned in your spouse’s sole name, you must register a notice at the Land Registry to protect your interest. If the home is in your joint names you should sever the tenancy and make a Will, thereby ring fencing your half share of the home until the final financial settlement is made. You should close or transfer into your sole name any joint bank accounts also. Taking positive steps at the outset will allow for a better outcome.
Melanie Lazarus & Co
38-40 Nolton Street