Summertime separation hard
Summer holidays bring a lot of things into perspective, including whether it’s time to make a clean break from your relationship.
It’s all that time together, you see, without the distraction of work.
Year’s end also gets people thinking of the future, and how to make it better.
It’s a time when people make resolutions, pledging not to smoke, to stop wasting money on vaping, to save more, spend less, and lose their love handles.
So it’s not surprising that overseas it’s been suggested separation spikes in the New Year.
But by gosh, these days there’s a financial incentive to make marriages work, unless you are planning to hook up with a wellheeled other.
Splitting one household into two means more rent or more mortgage debt, more insurance, more rates.
Splitting up can also mean lawyers.
Splitting up is costly Pre-nups don’t come cheap Beware the laying spouse
Being married to a lawyer, I do see the upsides in the law, but for most people, the less you have to do with lawyers, the better.
The Law Society’s New Zealand Relationship Property Survey of 369 family lawyers has come out in time for the summer holidays.
It’s a window into the booming industry surrounding relationship breakups.
Four in 10 expected more relationship breakup work in the coming year. Just four in a hundred expected their workload to decline.
The prospect of summer holidays seems to make divorce lawyers as happy as it makes fighting couples miserable.
The good news from the survey is that most relationship property splits are done by negotiation, not expensive and ridiculously slow hearings in court.
The bad news is that lawyers mostly charge ‘‘time and costs’’.
The last chargeout-rate survey I could find was from 2016. Lawfirm employees’ average hourly chargeout rate was $292.70, not including costs and GST.
By far the most common age for separation that led to the hiring of one of the 369 lawyers was 40-49.
This is likely because these are the people with assets like houses and businesses. The most common relationship property ‘‘pool’’ was $500,000 to $1million.
‘‘For most people, the less you have to do with lawyers, the better.’’
Poorer folk have less to fight over. My impression is most sort things out without lawyers.
Sometimes splitting couples go feral, and everything gets extremely costly.
The most common problem lawyers said they faced in representing their client was that the other half of a splitting couple hid assets.
It may be a wise thing for someone planning on quitting a relationship to gather some evidence of assets before they go.
Some people pre-plan their separations. They do this with a ‘‘section 21’’ contracting-out agreement when they hitch up. These are commonly called ‘‘prenups’’. They are agreements drawn up at the start of a relationship which say how assets will be split when/if things fall apart.
These do not come cheap, but they may save costs in the event of a relationship ending.
The majority of lawyers charge between $1000 and $5000 for one, but the real cost is actually higher, as both partieshave to get independent legal advice before signing.
The summer holidays are hard on warring couples, and seem to spur some people’s resolve to start afresh.