The range of ways that a couple can deal with their separation – and most importantly issues such as division of finances and care of children – has broadened considerably to include online and out of court alternatives, alongside traditional court-based divorce.

However, as Diana Parker and Claire Blakemore explain in episode 5, this range of choices can cause confusion over the most appropriate way to move forwards, at a time when the resources in the family courts are more limited than ever before. Choosing the wrong option can have a significant impact on the financial outcome and on how damaging the process can be. This has inspired the Withers team to create a new, flexible solution that offers couples a route to work together through the process, using a suite of tools to deliver a bespoke solution.


Takeaway points:

1. It is helpful to remember that when we talk about' divorce', this includes three aspects; first, the divorce itself (the process of becoming unmarried); second, what happens to the finances (the house, the pension, future income); and, third and most important, what arrangements should be agreed for your children if you have any.

2. When it comes to finances, relatively few cases require court proceedings, but because of the way the court system operates, even for those cases which settle, the current process can make an already difficult situation worse. There are several alternatives to going to court. Family mediation, arbitration and private Financial Dispute Resolution, or indeed a combination of all three, are all options, but they aren't suitable in every case and currently operate in separate spheres, which can make things confusing. So...

3. Withers has launched a new and unique service which captures the benefit of mediation and arbitration, but also brings in the best bits of the court system – financial evaluation – so that both of a couple can resolve their financial issues all under one roof, through a managed process, with without the need to go to court. It is rather like a one stop shop and is called the Withers separation model. Find out more here.

4. You can get divorced online, but should take advice before the divorce is finalised. This is because the financial claims and rights you have on relationship breakdown are connected to the divorce process. When getting divorced, advice from a family law specialist about financial matters and if needs be, about issues relating to your children, is strongly recommended.

5. To be legally binding, and in order to dismiss any future claims each of you may have in relation to your marriage, any financial settlement needs court approval, even if you are in agreement about how to divide the assets and what, if any maintenance should be paid.

Originally published by Withersworldwide, April 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.