Thursday, 2 April 2009

Set realistic divorce goals

Divorcing couples need to be “more realistic” when it comes to negotiating their finances - that's the message from Nadia Davis, who leads our Family Team.

“There is no doubt that the current economic climate means people are looking for value-for-money divorce proceedings, avoiding potentially costly court hearings whenever possible.
The number of couples who want to go down the route of mediation or other non-courtroom alternatives is definitely on the increase.”

Nadia said if court proceedings were the only suitable option, couples should set their sights at a realistic level. “Don’t assume you will be able to secure the kind of settlement that we have seen previously in the more high profile divorce cases, particularly those involving footballers and celebrities.

“When the economy was stronger, those payouts were more achievable, but now, although it’s still important to make sure each person gets a fair share of the assets, the payouts are likely to be significantly lower.”

And Nadia warned couples that a long drawn out court case, with both sides arguing over the smallest point, would not be helpful either. “Obviously, in terms of costs, the longer the court proceedings go on, the more you will pay in legal fees, so the sooner both sides can agree a compromise the better.”

“The credit crunch is now really tightening its grip, and it’s clear that couples will need to fully appreciate the challenges this brings in terms of negotiating a divorce settlement. By being more realistic in terms of your expectations, you could find your case is resolved much more quickly and effectively.”