New guide published to assist Litigants in Person

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Family Justice Council published the guide entitled ‘Sorting out finances on divorce’ in order to help those representing themselves navigate through, what can be, a daunting process for those unfamiliar with divorce proceedings.

Divorce, like any other legal process, involves terminology that may restrict the understanding of a person who is not a legal professional therefore; the guide avoids complicated wording to make it understandable for the ordinary person. A general overview of the law is provided followed by detailed explanations of the considerations that Litigants in Person will need to be aware of which are taken into account when addressing finances e.g. the needs of each person and any children in order to ensure that both can remain as financially independent after the divorce as possible.

The guide is also helpful with explaining terminology such as consent orders, maintenance payments and child maintenance payments to assist the reader in understanding the options available to them, including steps needed to ensure any agreements with their spouse are legally binding.

There is an emphasis in the guide towards those who do not have a surplus of assets and whose income will not cover the needs of both spouses, making it more difficult to decide how assets should be divided. Working examples are also included that deal with a range of situations, for example if one spouse provides all the income and owns all the assets while the other has been responsible for child care and taking care of the home. In this situation, the spouse that did not work would have options available to ensure that they can continue with their previously standard of living, as far as it is possible.

The guide has been praised by Resolution chair Jo Edwards saying, “79% of family cases now involved at least one unrepresented party, so this new guide from the Family Justice Council is a useful, timely and welcome resource for the increasing number of people who have no choice but to represent themselves in court…However, I think the FJC would be among the first to say that there’s no substitute for well-timed, tailored legal advice.’’

Read the full guide Sorting out Finances on Divorce in PDF format.

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