No one who is going through a divorce finds the process easy: it’s long, messy and almost always painful. Even if there are no children involved divorce is a procedure that takes its toll on both sides: the acrimony, the paperwork – and the inevitable meetings with your solicitor.
It’s understandable that many people involved in a divorce want to minimise the number of meetings they attend and simply let the solicitors get on with sorting it out.
Unfortunately, trying to cut down on meetings could be a serious mistake. Divorces are not just about broken relationships, dividing up the family home and arranging custody of the children. Sadly, they’re about financial planning as well – and meetings with your independent financial adviser may turn out to be even more important than meetings with your solicitor.
Even if a couple have only been married for a relatively short time their financial affairs are likely to be inextricably linked. The mortgage will almost certainly be in joint names, they could well have shared protection policies and pension benefits may need taking into account when assets are divided.
Couples who have been together for longer – and an increasing number of people are now getting divorced in later life – will find the financial situation even more complex. Pensions will certainly be an area that requires specialist financial advice as some people, particularly high earners in final salary pension schemes, will have built up pension funds which could well be worth more than the family home.
The new rules on pensions sharing in divorce have introduced a variety of options when it comes to dividing accumulated pension funds. They have also introduced the need for some seriously complicated (and potentially contentious) calculations making expert advice absolutely essential.
All these areas mean independent financial advice can be crucial to making sure that any financial ‘damage’ you suffer as a result of a divorce is kept to a minimum, and that you emerge with a clear idea of the financial planning steps you need to take in the aftermath of the divorce.
Virtually no one relishes going through divorce proceedings but if you find yourself in that position seeking out independent financial advice will be one of the wisest decisions you make. A good IFA will help make sure that you receive the best possible financial result from the divorce and will work with your solicitor to see that everything runs as smoothly and painlessly as possible. Whether it’s helping to sort out the mortgage, reaching an equitable settlement of pension assets, or any of the other complications that a divorce can throw up, an IFA will be on your side constantly giving advice with your best interests at heart.
If you are – or fear that you might become – involved in divorce proceedings then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll provide you with expert and wholly confidential advice – and do our best to make sure that the financial pain of your divorce is kept to an absolute minimum.