Relationships in the economic downturn
We live in uncertain times. Brexit is around the corner. We don’t know what type of Brexit it will be and how it will impact on our finances. Property prices have been stagnant or even fallen in the South East over the past 12 months. There is no expectation they will recover any time soon.
The Bank of England suggested that at the end of last year that house prices could drop by up to 30% if there was no Brexit deal. Lenders are using much stricter criteria so it is becoming more difficult to obtain a mortgage. The FTSE 100 of leading companies fell by 12.5% in 2018 – its biggest fall in a decade. Other stock markets fell around the world.
All these economic factors are negatively impacting on couples. It increases the financial pressure on them leading to relationship conflict and the break up of marriages and long term relationships. As a result, more people are consulting with divorce lawyers to discuss separation.
The difficulty for couples in this situation is that falling house prices and investments make it tough to share assets so that each person and any children can have two reasonable homes and enough money.
People are asking themselves whether they can actually afford to split up. Some decide to stay together even if it means living separate lives. Other people who are already divorced and paying maintenance to their former husband or wife or have agreed to pay a lump sum by instalments are looking to review these payments given the economic uncertainty and the impact on their earnings. If there is a large fall in property prices or values of investments following a Court Order or financial agreement, some people may look to try to renegotiate the deal.
In this time of uncertainty it is important that couples who may be separating obtain good legal advice from an experienced solicitor about their options. This does not necessarily mean becoming involved in court proceedings but agreeing a solution with solicitors using the collaborative process or mediation with the help of an independent lawyer mediator or through arbitration.
These all offer a more flexible approach than court and a resolution can be reached much more quickly and with far less cost.
Please contact Richard Phillips, Senior Consultant Solicitor, Accredited Mediator and Collaborative Lawyer, if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law.