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Business Focus Relationship on the Rocks

Dawn Harrison Head of Family team

The title of this article may conjure an image of cold, troubled waters with potential dangers above and below the surface. If this is a prospect facing you then look to get sensible support from the outset to help you manage the turmoil.

Below are some pointers to consider

• It may not be too late to repair the damage. Lots of organisations offer support and guidance on practical issues people face when threatened with separation. Relate Counselling can help identify if a relationship can be repaired or guide them to come to terms with the loss of their union. If reconciliation is not possible, a specialist family lawyer is the next point of call.

• Explore the alternative dispute resolution opportunities like mediation or collaborative

processes. If emotions are running high, taking a step back can regain the ability to think more clearly. Taking time to reflect and acting rationally can avoid lots of anguish. Many people regret actions/words spoken in the heat of the moment but the damage done remains.

• Think carefully about the consequences of acting irresponsibly, especially when it relates to your children or to money. Children are very vulnerable when parents separate, they need to know both parents love them and will continue to be there. Financial pressures can lead to relationship problems. Running two households will only compound any financial pressures.

• When one person leaves the family home, they rarely take all their belongings with them at once. Sensible arrangements need to be agreed to allow them to return for their remaining items. Joint items within the home should be preserved until an agreement can be reached on a fair distribution.

Canterbury 01227 643266 Maidstone 01622 698051

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Whitehead Monckton Ltd (no.08366029) registered in England & Wales. Registered office 72 King Street, Maidstone Kent ME14 1BL. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279

• The person that leaves is often a co-owner of the family home. The absent person is still bound by their responsibilities to mortgage lenders and should ensure that the home and contents remain protected by insurance. The leaving party continues to have rights to enter, ideally on giving reasonable notice.

• Analyse your financial resources to work out how they can meet everyone’s needs. Drawing up a priority list of what you and your estranged partner/spouse need is important. Enquiring what help is available in the form of benefits will also assist in continuing to meet the family’s budget.

• Taking early advice can help you steer a safer course through the dilemmas that separation brings. Try to preserve some respect for the other person no matter how difficult the situation. Talk to one of the specialist family team at Whitehead Monckton who have a wealth of experience in these matters.

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Maidstone November 2016

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