Make sure that you are working from reliable valuations:
Do not guess at the value of the main assets, make sure that you are working on accurate figures.
If you are not sure of the value of the family home or other properties, one way forward may be to obtain market appraisals from three estate agents and agree to work on the average figure. If you still feel the valuation figure is not accurate, it may be necessary to formally instruct an estate agent or surveyor to prepare an independent report.
With pensions the starting point is always the transfer value. However, with many schemes, that figure does not reflect the true value of the pension and it is necessary to obtain a report from an actuary.
With limited companies, the balance sheet is not always an indication of the true value of the company and you may need to instruct a forensic account to provide a formal and impartial valuation.
Whilst obtaining these valuations will take time and can be expensive, the information provided will be invaluable.
Spend your money and choose your battles wisely:
Use your solicitor for what they are good at – legal advice. When your ex does something that is irritating or upsetting, do not automatically pick up the phone to your solicitor, as this is the easiest way to run up a large legal bill. Contact a sympathetic friend to let off steam about your ex. Contact your solicitor when there is a legal issue to be discussed.
When your ex proposes something that you are not happy about, do not automatically reject the proposal out of hand. Consider how much the issue matters to you. Ask yourself, “Will this matter to me in a year/five years time?” Consider whether you may be able to concede the issue in return for a concession from your ex on an issue that is more important to you.
If your solicitor sends you a copy of a letter from your ex’s solicitor which sends you into a fit of rage, don’t respond immediately. Sleep on it and respond the following day. You are more likely to give a constructive and helpful response.
Think about the future:
Retirement may seem a long way off and it can be tempting to give up a pension sharing order in favour of a larger share of the cash assets, but you need to consider how you will survive upon retirement.
It may seem unlikely that your spouse will die before the children grow up, but it is always worth considering insuring the life of someone who is paying a significant amount of child or spousal maintenance, so that you are not left high and dry if the unthinkable happens.
Take your time:
The most stressful aspect of relationship breakdown can often be the uncertainty it creates and it is only human nature to want to resolve things quickly. However, you need to balance your wish to sort things out quickly with the need to prepare your case carefully, so that you don’t overlook anything or sell yourself short in the negotiations.
For further advice on matters relating to financial remedies on divorce, please contact our family law specialist, Joanna Toloczko on 020 7703 5034.
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