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Important things to consider when separating or getting divorced

There are a number of important things to consider, and steps to be taken, on the breakdown of a relationship or marriage.

Your Will

Divorce affects inheritance under a will.  A divorce can take a number of months to finalise, especially if there are complex financial matters to resolve.  Until the Decree Absolute is pronounced, you remain legally married, and should you die before the divorce is finalised, your estate may pass to your spouse under the intestacy rules.  It is therefore important to seek advice with regards to making a new will, or amending your existing will at the earliest opportunity.

Property

If you and your spouse/ex partner own a property together, we advise seeking advice in relation to the property at the earliest opportunity.  The majority of couples hold property as ‘Joint Tenants’ which means that should one of them die, their share of the property automatically passes to the other person.  Even having a Will does not prevent this from happening, unless the Joint Tenancy is severed.  Our conveyancing team will be able to check how your property is held, and if necessary sever the joint tenancy for you to ensure this does not happen.

Work benefits

Some companies provide death in service benefits or pension benefits.  Ordinarily, married couples would name the other spouse as the beneficiary.  On separation, it is important to speak to your employer with regards to making changes to ensure that their records are updated to reflect your new chosen beneficiary.

Benefits

If you are not working, or are on a low income, you may be eligible for state benefits to top up your income, such as Universal Credit.  These benefits can be key to being able to afford to pay your bills and being able to adequately provide for your children and should be explored as soon as possible.

At Dootsons, we have specialist teams of solicitors dealing with divorce, separation, wills, and property and can therefore assist you with all legal needs on separation within the firm.

To speak to one of our solicitors in relation to any of the above issues, please contact us by telephone or by using the online enquiry form.