Spring it seems has finally sprung, although as I write this column the temperature gauge has dropped to five degrees and turning the heating back on seems sensible.
If you’re moving around, you can apparently stay warmer, so maybe that’s where the idea of spring cleaning comes from. Throwing open the windows, dusting off the cobwebs and feeling a new, fresher day has dawned can be very cathartic.
Also, the idea of facing problems, moving in a new direction and out with the old, in the new isn’t just a January phenomenon, January being a traditionally busy time for divorce.
Over the years I have found myself equally busy in the spring with new instructions for divorce proceedings.
The key questions always remain the same though for the diverse groups of people of all ages who choose to separate: that is, do I take things slowly or should I move quickly?
The answer will depend on a whole range of circumstances. Although divorce rates on the whole are falling, those for the 60-plus generation are rising. Whatever the reasons why, 60 plus divorces bring with them their own extra layer of entanglements that need to be resolved sooner rather than later.
Pensions are considered to be an asset of the marriage and have to be taken into account by the courts. Whether they are split, giving each party a pension in the future, or other arrangements are made, it should be remembered that when a person dies, their income, including their pension, dies with them.
When the decision to separate will directly affect your children a little more caution is perhaps wise. Taking into account feelings of children and their need to adjust in their own way to a new family situation is vital, even if that may mean some delay. Again, the route to divorce is important. Choosing mediation or collaborative law process has already proved for many who take those routes that they can help diffuse potentially incendiary situations and reduce the time it takes to reach agreements.
From next week divorcing couples choosing to use the courts, with exceptions including situations that involve domestic violence or child protection issues, will have to go through a compulsory attempt at mediation before a court action is started.
If violence or abuse is part of a relationship, then it is often best to move as quickly as possible, taking into account individual circumstances. Abusive personalities, whether physically violent or not, need plain speaking or actions to help resolve the situation.
It is also important to remember that domestic violence is an issue across all sections of society, affecting the lives of women from all walks of life, and affecting one in four women in the population, and that men as well as women suffer from domestic violence and can often find their situation no less harrowing or isolating.
If you contact a solicitor as soon as a violent or frightening incident happens, an order can often be obtained very quickly to prevent a further incident and then the court can review the issues and if you have children, look at their safety.
The court can also attach conditions to injunctions to keep violent partners away from the home or the children’s school.
Whether any of the situations above are familiar, and whether divorce is something you have considered for some time, or only recently, it is always important to get legal advice that will help you make the right choices for you and if you are a parent, your children as well.