Frontline Workers and Divorce – How can a Family Lawyer Help?

Posted on: 7 mins read
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Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

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Divorce is widely considered to be one of life’s most stressful events. When this is combined with the existing pressures of being a frontline worker, the prospect of getting a divorce can seem incredibly daunting or even near impossible.

In this article, we’ll discuss the challenges faced by key workers when seeking a divorce as well as how our Family Lawyers can help. Read on to find out more or get in touch for advice that’s individual to you.

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Divorce and Frontline Workers

The stresses faced by people working on the frontline have undoubtedly been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent study from Roehampton University revealed that amongst NHS workers alone, severe levels of stress increased from 11 to 46 percent as a result of additional demands on health services.

If you work on the frontline in health, social care, or the emergency services and you’re starting divorce proceedings, you might have wondered how you’ll find the capacity to get through the process.

 

What Difficulties Do Frontline Workers Face When Divorcing?

A key challenge that people working on the frontline can face when starting divorce proceedings is finding the time for booking appointments.

As a frontline worker, not only are you limited on time generally, but it can also be difficult to plan when you’ll be available because of shift patterns and callouts. Our Family and Divorce Lawyers understand this, and we can adjust our communications to suit you.

Getting a divorce is never easy, but as we’ve outlined above, the pressure can be two-fold if you’re already facing the demands of being a frontline worker. Our Family and Divorce Solicitors work hard to remove some of the stress involved during divorce proceedings, so you can continue to fulfil your potential at work and at home.

During your initial assessment, you will have the opportunity to let us know if you have any special requirements and we’ll do our absolute best to cater to them. Whether you may need to arrange appointments at specific times/dates, stop a meeting early to attend to work-related matters, or reschedule appointments to fit around an updated schedule, we’re here to be flexible and we’ll work around you wherever possible.

 

How Can Simpson Millar Help?

For anyone who has made the difficult decision to get a divorce, it can be hard to know where to start. Our Family and Divorce Lawyers have years of combined experience supporting divorcing couples from all different walks of life and can help you navigate the process in a way that suits you.

We’ll always do our best to adjust our services depending on your availability and personal preferences. We can offer appointments that are face-to-face, over the phone, or via video call to make it as easy as possible for you to speak to your Solicitor.

 

Divorce Proceedings

No one ever expects to divorce or have family problems, but when it happens it’s important to know that someone is there to help support you – that’s where Simpson Millar come in.

We have a team of experts who are experienced in offering advice to frontline workers and NHS staff when they need it the most.

Our Divorce Solicitors can provide clear guidance on your divorce and separation, as well as childcare arrangements and financial settlements.

Our team of solicitors have extensive knowledge of NHS shift patterns and NHS pensions, so we will be able to advise you on how to achieve the best possible outcome that suits you and your family.

Our goal is to achieve the best outcome as quickly as possible. While divorce can be complicated, we aim to take the stress away and simplify the process as much as possible. We’ll take a lot of the problems away from you, so you can focus on other areas in your life.

 

Our Tailored Service for Members of the Police Federation 

Our Family and Divorce Solicitors have been dealing with the Police Federation for many years and are experienced in supporting its members who are going through the process of divorce.

We have a specialised package for members of the Police force who are starting divorce proceedings, which includes:

  • A no-obligation, free initial consultation.
  • Discounted fixed fees or hourly rates.
  • Expert Police pension advice.
  • Flexible appointments to suit your availability.

You can find out more about this service on our Police Family and Divorce Solicitors page.

 

Discounted Legal Services for NHS Employees

As a way of saying thank you, we’re proud to offer a 10 percent discount for NHS employees who use our Family Law services including divorce, separation and child arrangements. This discount can be applied either on our hourly rates or published fixed fees.

Get in touch with one of our expert advisors to find out more.

 

NHS Pensions and Divorce

There are several ways that we can deal with your NHS Pension during a divorce settlement. Here are the options that may be available to you:

Pension Sharing

Most people opt to share their pension and it’s the most common option. This is where you will transfer or split the pension between both of you, creating two separate pension schemes for you to benefit from. This is ideal if one of the spouses stayed at home to look after the children throughout the marriage.

Offsetting

Another option you have is to offset your pension against any other assets that are of similar value. If you don’t want to share your pension, you may opt to give your ex-partner a portion of other available capital, such as the family home. Although, while this route is simple, it may be difficult to value some assets as values can, and do, change regularly. For example, if you’re looking at offsetting it against your family home, the true value may not be what you expect.

Deferred Lump Sum

You may enter an agreement to pay a portion of the lump sum that you are paid upon retirement to your ex-partner. This is usually done via a Court Order, which means that you must pay your ex-partner the lump sum as soon as you retire, and you receive your payment. This lump sum will be given to your ex-partner completely tax-free.

Retain Your Pensions

If you and your ex-partner each have a pension, you can opt to both keep your own pensions. This will depend upon the values of your pensions and all the other assets that are divided as part of your divorce.

 

Childcare Arrangements for Frontline Workers

In a divorce neither of the spouses are more entitled to the children than the other, as long as both have parental responsibility.

We understand that frontline workers often struggle with shift patterns, and this can impact where the children live after a divorce. If you’re struggling with coming to an agreement about where your children should live, we can help you to reach a mutual agreement with your ex-partner.

If you and your ex-partner have been unable to reach an agreement directly, we can help with the negotiations. We’ll take a look at your unique circumstances and offer some solutions that we think would suit you, your children, and your lifestyle.

While we always prefer to come to a mutual agreement outside of Court where possible, we understand that sometimes this isn’t going to be achieved.

If you and your ex-partner can still not come to an agreement, it may be necessary to resolve this through the Courts. Although, this is not ideal, as the Court may reach an outcome that you didn’t want. For this reason, we recommend that you’re willing to negotiate to an extent about what it is you would like to achieve as an outcome.

 

Separating Together

If you and your ex-husband or wife are divorcing amicably, our same Solicitor Separating Together service could be an ideal option for you.  

The benefits of using one Solicitor for your divorce include:

  • Flexibility – you will set out how the timeline will look, instead of Courts implementing deadlines upon you.
  • Lower costs – using our Separating Together service means you’ll only be paying for one set of legal fees, so the process will be significantly cheaper than if you were instructing two lawyers.
  • Efficiency – if both you and your ex want to get through the divorce process quickly and in a way that is amicable, Separating Together can help you to achieve this.

It’s important to understand that to have a successful Separating Together divorce, you and your ex-partner will both need to commit to a conflict-free divorce. We’ll make sure that neither of you are feeling pressured into this service before we proceed, as domestic abuse cases aren’t suitable for our Separating Together service.

We’re one of few law firms in England and Wales that provides this service.

To find out more about our Family and Divorce law services, get in touch with our expert team today. We’ll discuss your situation to see if you are a good match for this service before we proceed.

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References

De Hert, S. (2020). Burnout in healthcare workers: Prevalence, impact and preventative strategies. Local and Regional Anesthesia, [online] 13(13), pp.171–183. doi:https://doi.org/10.2147/lra.s240564

www.gov.uk. (n.d.). PTM029000 - General principles: Divorce and pension benefits - HMRC internal manual - GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/hmrc-internal-manuals/pensions-tax-manual/ptm029000

Lorraine Harvey

Partner, Family Law

Areas of Expertise:
Family Law

Lorraine is a Partner at Simpson Millar, specialising in Family Law for over 20 years.

She handles middle to high net value cases, including pension claims and complex trust, and also advises on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements.

Lorraine has unrivalled knowledge of public sector pensions, in particular police pensions, having advised police officers on pension claims for two decades.

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