The number of divorce cases is higher in January than at any other time of the year and has prompted a Midland-based family lawyer to urge couples who are parting ways to make sure their assets are secured.
With separation traditionally on the rise after Christmas, many parties fear the other will spend money or dissipate their assets to reduce how much they will have to pay.
But matrimonial expert Nesheela Nazir, an associate at Bromsgrove law firm mfg Solicitors, says there is protection available for a separating spouse if they apply to the court to freeze assets while the divorce is finalised.
“Historically, January always brings a rise in applications for divorce. For many couples, Christmas was the last chance to try to make a marriage work, while many other couples simply put on a brave face for their children.” said Ms Nazir.
“That also means that January is a month where the fight for money can take over a relationship and with a divorce looming, one partner might start trying to reduce the value of an asset, or spend all the money, to reduce what the other person is entitled to.
“That’s a situation we’ve seen many couples embroiled in over the past 12 months.
“But what many people don’t know is that pending a final settlement, they can apply for a court to freeze an asset, such as a bank account, savings or investment portfolio so that during the divorce, and only if the court is satisfied, no deals or movements can take place.
“Those are examples of action that some are failing to take and it’s causing a stressful situation to be even worse. The simple advice is that if all trust has broken down in the relationship and there is a real risk of assets being moved, then an application to freeze them should be made sooner rather than later.”
Ms Nazir said that according to the Office for National Statistics, 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, with 34 per cent of marriages expected to finish that way before the 20th anniversary. Statistically, the chance of divorce is highest between the fourth and eighth anniversaries.
Couples who make it beyond 26 years together have a less than one per cent chance of separating. Traditionally the 3rd of January tends to be ‘divorce day’ because it is when the number of web searches for ‘divorce’ is at its highest.
Ms Nazir and colleague Claire Backler are offering advice to couples across the West Midlands who have decided to separate. Ms Nazir can be contact firstname.lastname@example.org