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Fail to prepare – Prepare to fail!

Harrogate based Family Law solicitor, Tim Mellors, explains why like most things in life if you prepare, things go smoother and divorce is no different.

Sadly a high percentage of relationships between couples do come to an end, even after many years together.

Why contemplate separation?

We understand that the decision to separate or divorce is not one that anyone comes to easily but it may be the last resort if trust and concern, shared interests, commitment to the marriage and common long-term goals are no longer present.

What should you prepare before you commence the separation process?

Once the decision to separate has been taken, an essential step is to start the process of gathering together information and paperwork about the various family assets and liabilities such as, valuations of investments and other assets, a mortgage statement, bank statements for the last 12 months, up to date life policy surrender values and credit card statements. The cash equivalent value in respect of all pensions is important and, if there is a business, as are the last 2 years business accounts. If in employment ensure you have recent wage slips and your latest P60.

Gathering all the key evidence before you see your solicitor, saves legal fees and speeds the process. If your financial circumstances are complicated, it would be sensible to speak to your accountant and/or your financial adviser before you see your solicitor as they will assist in collating the financial picture of the family.

Plan for the future

The separation will be a process which is emotionally and physically draining but we encourage and support you to try to look to the future. Look to where you want to be in twelve months' time. Helping to focus on the future planning also assist in taking the advice you receive in context.


Whilst is often said that couples should stay married and learn to compromise, separation is sometimes inevitable. With proper planning and careful choices, however, the upset and emotions associated with separation can be minimised and the process managed within a reasonable time.

Tim Mellors is an Partner in our Personal Law Department and is based in Harrogate.

Tim has specialised in the field of divorce and family finance for over 25 years. Dealing with all issues relating to the end of a relationship whether this concerns property, money, inheritance, pensions or children.

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