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Should you time your divorce to make the most of your financial assets?

June 25, 2021 Speech Box

As I wrote here in January – contrary to many forecasts – the consequences of couples living together throughout lockdown period is that that the divorce rate is actually below the usual level compared with previous years. Ministry of Justice statistics show that the number of financial remedy applications (the start of the process when the formal division of assets begins) issued between April and June last year is down by a third on the same period in 2019.

Since children have returned to in person learning I have noticed a significant increase in people now ready to proceed to sort out their divorce and financial matters.

In my experience many people have now arrived at a place where they just cannot continue to put these matters on hold any more, as they thought they might at the beginning of the pandemic.

In fairness very few people get married thinking their relationship won’t last forever but when it has broken down when should you decide to divorce?

This question is particularly pertinent at the moment because trying to value the assets of a partner whose business might currently be receiving government support to survive is challenging. Should you wait and see whether the company can recover, or should you cut your losses?

Then there are those couples who have significant cryptocurrency assets. The valuations of those yo-yo up and down almost on a daily basis.

What the courts prefer in my experience is to see couples achieve a clean break, based on the valuations of assets at the end of a marriage, rather than the indefinite provision of spousal maintenance or ‘periodical payments’.

If you have reached a decision that your marriage is over you should go and get specialist legal advice, even if you do not intend to commence proceedings straight away. Most people feel stronger after getting information and initial advice because they feel more prepared and in control of their future. By delaying all you do is prolong the tension that has already built up between you and hastened the separation in the first place. After all none of us can predict the future, especially in a world where the course of Covid-19 is far from over.

If you are affected by similar issues or would like to have a related discussion in confidence, please call me Louise Barretto on 020 7091 2869 or email

Our Family lawyers, Litigation and Forming Families teams have the knowledge and experience to guide you through these challenging times and have rankings in Legal 500 for their expertise.

The above is correct as at 25 June 2021. The information above may be subject to change as this is a constantly evolving situation.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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