5 things to consider when separating from your spouse

Divorce concept. Unrecognizable woman removing wedding ring from finger, her despaired husband

Make sure you’re aware of everything to consider when contemplating separation - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Demelza Butler from Gotelee Solicitors shares the top aspects to consider when contemplating divorce.

When a relationship breaks down irretrievably, emotions run high and friends and family can be quick to offer advice. Here are a few points we encourage clients to consider in the initial weeks and months following a separation before resolving matters in the longer term.

1. How best to tell the children?
or many this is the hardest part of dealing with a separation, but research suggests that the impact on the children can be lessened if parents are able to work together from the beginning. Most children will benefit from parents presenting a united front. Sitting down together to break the news demonstrates that you are still able to work together and have their best interests at heart.

2. Make a will
If you have not made a will since marrying, then your assets (up to a certain amount) would automatically pass to your spouse on your death, but if you have, you are likely to have made provision for your spouse.
Whilst divorce doesn’t revoke a will, and the current will remains valid, for inheritance purposes, your ex-spouse is treated as if they had died when the marriage or civil partnership was dissolved.
A new will should be put in place in that time between deciding to separate and the divorce being finalised if you don’t want your spouse to inherit as a previous will provided.

3. Notify the relevant agencies
Many couples receive tax credits and it is important that any claim is updated as soon as possible following a change in circumstances to avoid being over paid. Likewise, it may be that, as a result of your separation, you become eligible for tax credits/ other benefits and such additional financial support.

4. Consider CGT and other tax implications
Tax is incredibly complex, and it is important to receive advice from an expert on the implications of divorce. For example, spouses who have second homes or rental properties may be able to transfer those to each other within the tax year of separation without becoming liable to CGT. If you move out of the family home for any length of time before seeking to resolve ownership of it, you may find that you become liable for CGT even though it used to be your principal residence.

5. Take legal advice
It is important that you take legal advice at an early stage. It does not mean you are taking an aggressive or confrontational approach. If you choose a solicitor who is also a member of Resolution, we are committed to helping you resolve matters in a constructive and non-confrontational way.

If you are worried about your circumstances resulting from a recent separation, telephone Demelza Butler on 01473 298158 or email demelza.butler@gotelee.co.uk