Divorce and separation checklist

During a divorce or separation, it is important to be prepared. At times the process can seem confusing, so it’s easy to miss important steps that could cause you more hassle in the future. We have collated a handy checklist that suggests some practical steps to take and we hope gives you a little more clarity during this unsettling time.

This checklist will guide you through some of the first steps you should make when divorcing or separating, including:

  • Preparing your family
  • Getting to grips with your finances
  • Notifying the right organisations about your divorce/separation
Preparing your family+

If there are children involved, divorce or separation can be a confusing time for them. Follow these initial steps to maintain as smooth a transition as possible.

  • Inform your children’s schools, not only for administration reasons, but to make them aware of your family’s change in circumstance. This way they may be able to pay more attention to how the child is coping on a day-to-day basis and support them in extra ways.
  • Explain the situation as best you can to your children so they are informed of the impending change. The more they know, the better they can learn to adapt.
  • Do not pass blame onto children for the relationship breakdown, and enforce the fact that both parents, as well as grandparents and other family members, will still be involved in their lives.
  • Try to stay in contact with your in-laws for your children’s benefit as well as your own. They can act as extra support for you and this can help maintain a family unit for your children.
  • If you can, create a parenting schedule whilst going through a divorce or separation that sets out when and where the children will see you and your ex-partner and stick to it as best you can. This will help them adjust to a new routine.
  • Do not act or speak negatively about your ex-partner to your children. This can end in children feeling like they need to ‘choose’ or favour one parent over another.
Getting to grips with your finances+

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, it’s important to start to understand your financial situation and regain your financial independence.

Firstly there are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Can you keep your family home, or will you need to sell?
  • How will you divide personal property, assets, cars etc.?​
  • Where will your ex-partner live?
  • How will the children’s financial payments be divided?

Next, start to organise and understand your financial situation:

  • Gather financial documents for any outstanding debts, investments and savings. This will give you a clearer picture of your situation and will save time if you choose to talk to a solicitor about your situation.
  • Create a new spending budget. Your spending habits may need to change during and after the separation or divorce, so evaluate your disposable income, set yourself a budget and stick to it.
  • Detail your spending so you know what’s coming in and out of your accounts.​
  • Talk to your solicitor about what your separation or divorce will cost so you know what you’re paying upfront. Talk to usabout our fixed fee divorce options, for added peace of mind.
  • Contact your bank for advice about any joint accounts you may have, to protect yourself against your ex-partner withdrawing some of the money in the account, without your knowledge.​
  • Open new savings and current bank accounts in your name at different banks to where you hold joint accounts so your payments and tax credits can be paid directly to you.​​
  • Open new credit card accounts in your name, if you don’t have them already, to start building your own credit rating.​​
  • Make the relevant changes to your will – or if you don’t have one, make one! This is extremely important to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death and your assets are given to your chosen beneficiaries.
Notifying the right organisations about your divorce/separation+

It can be daunting, but telling the relevant organisations that you are going to divorce will save you the hassle later on.  Let them know of your divorce and any changes to your contact details and next of kin, if needed.

  • Your landlord or mortgage lender
  • Local Council Tax department (you may be be entitled to a 25% discount if you live alone)
  • Your bank and any creditors
  • Tax Credit Office (if you receive or want to apply for Tax Credits)
  • Jobcentre Plus (if you or your partner receive benefits)
  • Local Authority (if you receive Housing Benefit)
  • Disability and Carers Service (if you receive Disability Living Allowance)
  • Your employer
  • Utility companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Post Office (if you need to redirect your post to a new address)
  • DVLA
  • Passport Office
  • TV Licencing
  • Doctor and dentist

Our experienced, approachable and friendly lawyers can help and support you through the complex process of divorce or separation

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