We will be at Pendleton Gateway on Thursday 25 January from 9am- 12.30pm to help you save money on your fuel bills and check you’re getting all the right benefits.
Take details of your income and benefits and your current energy supplier and ask for Martin, our energy adviser at the Gateway reception.
When you separate from your partner, you’ll need to work out things like:
Don’t feel pressured into a decision that’s not right for you. You’ll have a better chance of reaching an agreement if you wait until you’re ready to talk.
You need to have been married for at least 1 year before you can get divorced or dissolve your civil partnership, so there’s usually time to work things out.
If your partner makes you feel anxious or threatened, you should get help.
Don’t try to agree anything about your separation without speaking to someone first.
You can call Refuge or Women’s Aid on 0808 2000 247 at any time.
Men’s Advice Line is a charity that helps men suffering domestic abuse. You can call their helpline on 0808 801 0327 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
If you’re unsure about what to do next, contact your nearest Citizens Advice.
You don’t have to go to court to decide what to do when you separate unless you really can’t agree with each other. It’s often cheaper and quicker to figure it out yourselves.
If you’re struggling to decide, you should try mediation to see if you can reach an agreement with the help of a mediator.
This is something you’ll have to do anyway if you later decide to go to court.
Mediation is a cost-effective way of sorting any differences you have with your ex-partner about money, property or children.
You should try to talk to a mediator when you separate. You can go straight to a solicitor, but the first question they’ll often ask you is whether you’ve tried mediation.
Even if you end up having to go to court to sort out your differences, you normally need to prove that you’ve been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). This is an introductory meeting to explain what mediation is and how it might help you.
There are exceptions when you don’t have to go to mediation first – for example, if you’ve suffered domestic abuse.
It’s better to try and reach an agreement through mediation if you can – you could save thousands of pounds in legal fees.
If your ex-partner doesn’t want to see a mediator, you should go to the MIAM on your own. You’ll then be able to prove you’ve tried mediation if you later want to go court. You can’t force your ex-partner to go to mediation.
See this family mediation leaflet on GOV.UK for more information about how mediation works, and what happens at an MIAM.
Find your nearest family mediator on the Family Mediation Council website: www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
Mediation isn’t free, but it’s is quicker and cheaper than going to court. If you’re on a low income you might be able to get legal aid to pay for:
Legally binding means you have to stick to the terms of the agreement by law.
Check if you’re eligible for legal aid on www.gov.uk
You’ll normally have to pay about £30 for an MIAM, although sometimes this first meeting is free. Follow-up sessions usually cost you and your partner about £80 each – most people need to go to 3 or 4.
The cost of mediation varies depending on where you live. Phone around to find the best price, but bear in mind the cheapest might not be the best.
Some mediators base their charges on how much you earn – so you might pay less if you’re on a low income.
If you want to keep the costs of mediation down, try to agree as much as you can with your ex-partner before you start. You could also agree a fixed number of sessions with your mediator – this might help you and your ex-partner focus on getting a quicker resolution.
Citizens Advice Salford
Some Money Saving New Year’s Resolutions:
This is a really good time to make some money saving New Year’s resolutions to help you save money throughout the next year. Here are ten quick ways that you and your family could save hundreds of pounds.
You can do a quick benefits test by going to www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/benefits-introduction/what-benefits-can-i-get/
If you have never changed fuel supplier then you are likely to make big savings. If you are coming to the end of a fixed deal then now is a good time to review your arrangements, especially as fuel costs are now heading up again. If you are on a prepayment meter, and need help to get this changed, we can help with this. To find out about the best deals you can look at one of the common internet switching services, or you can check the weekend newspapers.
Most people don’t change their bank accounts and because of this are often not getting a good deal. There is a bank account switching service to make the whole process very simple, just check out www.currentaccountswitch.co.uk.
When your insurance policies – especially car insurance, get automatically renewed it’s easy not to check that you’re getting a good deal. Always take the opportunity of insurance renewal to look at your policy and see that it meets your needs, and that you’ve looked at alternative providers. Remember that when you pay in instalments it does cost you more.
Interest rates look like they might be moving steadily upwards. Is it a good time to re-mortgage? Watch out for any redemption costs for your existing mortgage, and take into account the fees that you might pay to re-mortgage. It’s always a good idea to start by asking what deals your current lender might be able to offer you.
Review any existing borrowing that you have and see if you could re-finance it with a cheaper loan. Be mindful of the Annual Percentage Rate, APR of all your current borrowing, and consider whether a personal loan with a lower APR wouldn’t be cheaper?
The new system of pension auto-enrolment means that your employer will be making a contribution to your pension as well as you. You will also receive an element of tax relief. The contribution rates will rise again soon, the first phase in April 2018, and the second in April 2019. Watch out for more information.
It’s possible in some cases to get your council tax band reduced. If you need to make provision for a disabled person’s needs, or if you home is wrongly classified. There are lots of other things to consider, so check out www.gov.uk/council-tax
Also remember that your local authority will have its own local scheme for people who need extra help.
When people get into debt the extra charges mount up very quickly. Seek advice about any money worries you have as soon as you can, it will be easier to sort out, and will probably much cheaper. Your local Citizens Advice can help.
Credit unions are local co-operatives that proide low cost borrowing for their members. They are organised either for a local place or some occupations have their own credit unions. You can find out about your nearest credit union by going to www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk.
Finally, Happy New Year from all of us at Citizens Advice!
Citizens Advice Salford.
451 Liverpool St
Registered Number: 226364
Charity Registered Number: 701559
Citizens Advice Salford is independent and provides free, confidential, impartial advice to everybody in the Salford area regardless of race, gender, sexuality or disability. More About Citizens Advice Salford