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The Benefit of Early Advice

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By Caroline Keeley

When people are faced with the prospect of separation, the best thing they can do is to get early advice. Often people don’t know which way to turn and end up relying on the anecdotes of friends and family who have already been ‘stung’.  This can be risky advice to rely on, particularly as no two cases are the same.

England (and in particular London) is known as the divorce capital of the world. This is no doubt due to the huge discretion that our system employs to determine each case on its own facts and merits.  There is no prescript outcome for parties divorcing in this country.

So who do people turn to? Their financial adviser, a lawyer, accountant, pension adviser or doctor?  In fact all of the above are correct. 

Seeking early legal advice is essential, not only to explain the process and options ahead, but also to give confidence in those early discussions that will need to take place. Often parties are reluctant to instruct professionals for all the needed advice for genuine concerns about costs, but it is much more cost effective to get early advice about what can and cannot be achieved and the pros and cons of different arrangements, whether that be dealing with pensions, realising investments or dealing with property.  People also need to be advised about the potential tax consequences (or savings) of particular actions.  All too often we see agreements being reached that, in terms of law, cannot actually be put into practice or which place the parties at a financial disadvantage.  It might then be too late to change the arrangement or involve unnecessary extra expense. 

Getting a team in place with your solicitor and financial adviser working together and then using accountants, specialist pension advisers and/or property experts to deal with valuations can make all the difference. We will always encourage people to reach agreement between themselves wherever possible but early advice and guidance cannot be underestimated.

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