Divorce – the importance of taking legal advice

A conversation with friends over the Christmas break brought home to me the risks you take if you get divorced without taking specialist legal advice.  

Amongst other things, my friends and their child (the person getting divorced) were unaware of:  the factors that have to be present before a financial agreement can be binding, the continuing financial obligations between spouses even after they are divorced, the fact that those obligations have no time limit, and the role of the court in the financial side of divorce even when the parties have agreed on the arrangements.

These are important aspects of getting divorced.  I couldn’t advise on the specifics of the case, because that would require a meeting with the person getting divorced, who lives upcountry.  I hope I got across that taking specialist legal advice is essential  if you’re getting divorced.

The system is often counter-intuitive   It is unwise to assume that what seems the obvious and the fair solution is what the court would impose on the couple if asked to adjudicate.  In how many cases has the matrimonial home been sold when it needn’t have been, or the husband been given a clean break when the wife’s maintenance claim should have been left open while the children were young, or the party with a pension got to keep it when the pension should have been shared?

Such matters can affect a person’s financial health for years into the future, or even for the rest of their life.

Take specialist advice!