8th Aug 2016

My spouse has just left me what do I do?

When a relationship ends it can be devastating. Sometimes the person who is left has not seen the split coming and feels paralysed, not knowing what to do. There can be understandable panic about the steps they should take and real fear about the future and how things will be resolved.

I set out below a few checkpoints and dos and don’ts: –

  • If you have children with you try and give them some reassurance. If they have gone with your partner then try and open (if you can) a sensible dialogue to sort out arrangements to see them. The children will be confused and upset and they need to know when they will be seeing the absent parent.

  • Change your passwords, especially those for laptops, for your email account and your bank accounts.

  • If you have joint accounts consider whether or not you need to put them onto two signatures. This may be difficult if it is a working joint account that pays the bills but easier if it is a savings account - it will protect those funds.

  • Do a budget, setting out all the outgoings that you have to pay for the property in which you are living. This will help you to ensure that you can make ends meet. If appropriate get advice about claiming benefits and if you are still at the house remember to tell the local authority that you are now a single occupier in order to obtain the single person council tax allowance.

  • Do not agree with your spouse to move out of the house or put it up for sale without getting legal advice.

  • Talking of legal advice, get expert guidance as quickly as you can. Many firms, including Berwins, will offer a free half-hour interview for potential new family clients. This is an opportunity to get some initial guidance as to what you can expect in terms of the settlement and outcome.

  • Do not rely on advice from friends or family who have been in a similar situation as to how financial matter should be resolved. What happened in their case or their best friends’ case may not be the same as what happens in your case. Every case is fact specific.

  • Make sure the mortgage or rent is still paid. If it is going to be a problem in the short term speak to your lender or landlord, explain the situation and speak to them before a payment is missed -  they may well be more understanding or prepared to come to an arrangement.

  • There is no escaping the fact that it is a difficult time and the first days following separation can be very dark indeed. But by considering some of the points above you start to take back control of your life, in small steps, and that in itself helps you to cope with the change in your circumstances. With the support of a good family solicitor the situation, however complex and impossible it may seem, can be resolved with time and everything sorted out.

There is no escaping the fact that it is a difficult time and the first days following separation can be very dark indeed. But by considering some of these points, you start to take back control your life, in small steps, and that in itself helps you to cope with the change in your circumstances. With the support of a good family solicitor the situation, however complex and impossible it may seem, can be resolved with time and everything sorted out.

Written by Stephen Root of Berwins Solicitors 

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