The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

- Society · Personal Finance · Business

This multi-dis­ci­plinary route to di­vorce sees lawyers deal­ing with the le­gal side of a split; fi­nan­cial neu­trals as­sist­ing with fi­nan­cial planning for both par­ties and any chil­dren; and coun­cil­lors or psy­chother­a­pists sup­port­ing with the emo­tional im­pact.

I’ll usu­ally be­come in­volved in the phase be­tween a date of sep­a­ra­tion be­ing lodged and the cou­ple reach­ing a for­mal agree­ment.

In th­ese in­stances, many will have a joint home, per­haps one per­son and the chil­dren are still liv­ing there while the other adult has moved to rented ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Chances are there’s a shared mort­gage, in­come and out­go­ings. I come in at this point to look at how they might man­age fi­nan­cially and move to­wards a se­cure fi­nan­cial fu­ture separately.

How it works

Many cou­ples will need help to work out their in­come and out­go­ings.

I work with them to as­sess the facts, look at how they can meet those out­go­ings and re­duce any costs, if pos­si­ble. This could in­clude tem­po­rar­ily mov­ing to an in­ter­est-only mort­gage or cut­ting back on cer­tain ex­pen­di­ture.

And th­ese ar­range­ments have to be grounded in re­al­ity. I show them how to look at liq­uid­ity, whether as­sets are tied in pen­sions, prop­erty or per­haps buy-to­lets, and whether there’s enough money to sup­port the pur­chase of sep­a­rate homes and house­hold costs.

This process also takes into ac­count out­go­ings for chil­dren such as school fees, tu­tors and ac­tiv­i­ties. It may be that both par­ties want to live in the same type of house they shared before, or both live close to a child’s school, but it’s not al­ways pos­si­ble fi­nan­cially.

Maybe the hus­band or wife is a larger earner and feels more se­cure for the fu­ture, while the other per­son feels at a dis­ad­van­tage, hav­ing stayed home to care for chil­dren.

The fi­nal agree­ment

The fi­nal stage of col­lab­o­ra­tive di­vorce in­volves five-way meet­ings with the cou­ple, their lawyers and a fi­nan­cial neu­tral to cre­ate a writ­ten sep­a­ra­tion agree­ment, which lawyers ad­vise on and that is bind­ing.

Of­ten, I’ve seen how this ap­proach brings cou­ples closer to an un­der­stand­ing of how they can con­struc­tively move on.

It’s a far cry from the an­tag­o­nis­tic – and of­ten costly – ver­sion of di­vorce through the courts, which can only be a good thing when it comes to stay­ing emo­tion­ally, and fi­nan­cially, fit.

 ?? FI­NAN­CIAL PLAN­NER AND FI­NAN­CIAL NEU­TRAL AT ACU­MEN FI­NAN­CIAL PLANNING IN ABERDEEN ?? END OF THE FAIRY TALE: Di­vorce is never sweet, but a col­lab­o­rate ap­proach can make the whole process eas­ier to swal­low
FI­NAN­CIAL PLAN­NER AND FI­NAN­CIAL NEU­TRAL AT ACU­MEN FI­NAN­CIAL PLANNING IN ABERDEEN END OF THE FAIRY TALE: Di­vorce is never sweet, but a col­lab­o­rate ap­proach can make the whole process eas­ier to swal­low
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