The decision to separate from a partner is never easy, with often a range of emotional and logistical challenges to face. Now with the additional constraints of a cost of living crisis, the division of shared assets requires especially delicate handling. Here’s a helpful roadmap to help you navigate separation at this time.

Birdnesting: An Innovative Solution

When children are involved, their well-being becomes paramount. Traditional arrangements might see children shuttling between parents’ houses, adjusting to new environments, and experiencing the ripple effects. Enter “birdnesting.” This child-focused arrangement allows children to remain in the family home, with parents rotating in and out of the home based on a parenting schedule.

It provides children with stability, allowing them to stay in familiar surroundings, maintain school routines, and keep close to their friends. For parents, the logistics might involve moving in with other family members, renting a modest space nearby to occupy during their off-time or splitting the family home into two distinct living areas. While it might sound complicated, in safe and agreeable circumstances, this can be effective cost-wise as well as providing continuity for children during a transitional period.

Strategies to cope with financial strain

A cost of living crisis brings its own set of challenges. For many, the family home is not just a residence but also a significant shared asset. Managing mortgage payments, especially on a single income post-separation, can be daunting.

  1. Communicate with Your Lender
    Before panic sets in, reach out to your lender. You’d be surprised how many financial institutions have hardship programs designed for situations like these. From reducing repayments to offering a temporary mortgage holiday, there are avenues to explore that could provide some breathing space.
  2. Refinancing
    Another option worth considering is refinancing your mortgage. This involves procuring a new loan to offset your existing mortgage that may potentially lower repayments or provide a more feasible payment structure. Remember though, to weigh the associated costs, such as fees, to determine its viability.
  3. Collaborate with Your Ex-Partner
    Emotional differences aside, financial discussions post-separation can lead to solutions that are beneficial for both parties. Whether it’s agreeing on a loan holiday, liquidating certain assets, or even considering renting out a portion of the house, cooperation can pave the way for financial relief.
  4. Selling the Property
    This is a weighty decision yet there are circumstances where selling the family home is the most pragmatic solution. This may not only alleviate ongoing financial commitments but also provides an opportunity for a fresh start.

Legal Insights

An experienced family lawyer can help you understand your rights, assist in negotiations, and guide you through more complex processes like property sales if required.

With the right legal expertise, you can work out a plan to manage debts and navigate future financial risks. Not-for-profit organisations like New Way Lawyers, with their client-focused approach, can provide invaluable insights during these difficult times. Their commitment to increase access to legal information has extended across platforms to include their ‘Lunch with a Lawyer’ Facebook group which provides a space for community support and answers to family law questions for free.