In a new series of that will coincide with Family Mediation week we’re giving some top tips.  We really do know that those going through a separation struggle to process lots of information when they are feeling emotional and so breaking things down to a simple top 5 tips can be helpful.

Other blogs in this series

Finding a lawyer or Mediator
Get the most from a MIAMS
Keep children out of conflict

In this blog we’re sharing our top 5 tips for sorting out money without spending a large portion of the money you have fighting about the issues.

1.Consider where you’re at in the healing and recovery process. There is a very definite grieving process that comes with a separation and whilst it is unlikely to be identical for everyone (or take the same amount of time) there are often common themes.  Anger and denial are common in the early stages. It’s also common for the two people involved to be at very different stages.  If one person is pushing to resolve things as quickly as possible because they are ready to move on, and the other person is still in the denial or angry stage then this can be a recipe to rack up costs very quickly. One person may push and the other person may strongly resist any attempts at constructive resolution because they are simply unable to see past the emotional state they’re currently in.  Whilst it can be frustrating to wait to sort things out it can mean it’s a lot less stressful, takes a lot less time and costs a lot less if you wait to resolve financial issues until the other person is in a place where they are able to talk constructively and make decisions.

2. If you’re stuck get professional help. It is possible to get stuck in anger or denial.  This is a hard thing to judge because for some people it can simply be a prolonged stage because of the circumstances, because of previous trauma, or because of the make up of that person.  But if you feel you have got stuck in the angry stage then it can be productive and useful to you to seek help from a therapist to deal with this.  You don’t want to spend the rest of your life stuck in a rage. In addition to this it can have a knock on effect on your children and affect your ability to co-parent peacefully.  Your GP will be able to tell you about local services.

3. It can seem counter intuitive to instruct different professionals as surely more professionals means more cost?  But getting the right help, from the right professional, at the right time, usually addresses the issue in question and stops it escalating into a dispute that requires more work from a particular professional. If your issue is an emotional one then spending thousands with a forensic accountant going through accounts won’t address it.  Equally if your argument about pensions is turning nasty because you don’t really understand your situation, then getting a pensions expert to talk you through what you have and what you can do is likely to save you a battle.

4. Consider family mediation. Obviously we’re biased but that’s because we know how much help family mediation brings to a separating couple.  It gives you a space where you can understand what money you have, look at what you each need, and look at different options for meeting your needs and see what they will look like.  The mediator will talk you through this process step by step and at any stage you can get advice from a lawyer to ensure you feel confident about decisions you’re making.  This enables you to make confident and informed decisions about what is the right way forward for both of you.

5.If you find yourself making threats about “spending all the money” or words to the effect of “I’d rather lawyers had it than you had it”. Then let this be a very large red flag that your frame of mind is not one conducive to making rational decisions.  It may be sensible to take a short break from trying to resolve things so that you can focus on your own well being.  Consider an emotional and physical MOT with your GP and be open to other avenues of help.  Divorce and separation are one of the top most stressful life events and it’s OK not to be OK at this difficult time.  We all have a limit of what we can personally cope with.

If you’d like more guidance on any aspect of separation then you can visit our online shop.

Other blogs you may find useful:

Looking after yourself in a separation

Do you need a support team when you separate?

If you’d like tips and support to help you manage your post separation arrangements as constructively and amicably as possible, then why not sign up to our free mailing list and get them direct to your inbox?  You’ll get loads of tips along the way and we tend to only send an email a couple of times a month.

We also have a separate list for for professionals working with separating couples.  This includes resources for professionals to share with their clients and details of our forthcoming training workshops and networking events.

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