For many a new year brings change and with it the chance to start afresh
This can mean the ending of a relationship and there are fewer bigger and bolder decisions that you can make. Relationships are complex and unique and the decision to end one is usually just the starting point. There may be children. Who will live where? How will assets accrued during that relationship be divided. You may be able to discuss these issues with your spouse/partner or the mere mention may start an argument. Everyone is different.
For most it is daunting and unknown territory and the number of misconceptions people have are numerous, do you share any?
1. The quickie divorce. There is no such thing . Whilst separation and divorce will be different for everyone the process remains the same. Having professional help however can help the process run as quickly and smoothly as possible.
2. Divorce ends financial claims. Not true! Until you get a court order recording terms of settlement your ex could still make a financial claim. This was highlighted in the case of Vince v Wyatt  in which the wife has been given the opportunity to make a financial claim against her husband despite divorcing in 1992. Dealing with those issues at separation provides peace of mind and finality enabling a fresh start.
3. Common law wife/husband. Living together, no matter for how long does not automatically give you rights over the assets of your partner nor provide you with financial protection in the event of separation. There are however steps that you can take to ensure that you get what you intended from the relationship and professional advice will provide you with options and understanding.
Surprised? Whether you are thinking of taking steps to separate or are half way through the process, don't struggle on your own. Forewarned is forearmed and it always pays to seek professional advice as soon as possible. Breaking up is never easy to do but with professional support and understanding it can be easier.
Finally it need not be expensive and the sooner you seek help and are aware of your options the more informed and cost effective your decisions will be. A fixed fee consultation is the chance to be listened to, receive advice on the law and help you plan the best way forward for you get that information at no hidden cost.
Sarah Stace is a family lawyer at TV Edwards, for further information contact her on 020 3440 8048 or at Sarah.Stace@tvedwards.com
*Article originally published in the LoveEast Magazine December Issue