Top Tips when Faced with a Divorce
It is a fact of life that not all marriages or relationships are successful. We are aware that divorce proceedings can be a difficult time for both parties and even more so when children are involved. We appreciate how traumatic the end of a marriage can be and we aim to assist you by giving consideration to the emotional stress you may be going through by taking away the burden of dealing with the legal formalities involved in a marriage breakdown.
Here are some top tips to avoid lengthy, costly and emotionally draining divorces.
1. Is this really what you want?
You must consider whether going through with a divorce or a separation is really what you want to do. It is a big step to take and it is worth considering whether it is your partner that is the problem or a particular situation for example your partner working long hours and subsequently not spending enough quality time with you. If this is the case, then it is worth trying to do something about it before instigating any divorce or separation.
It may be that all that is needed is that both of you or one of you need to attend marriage counselling. We can put you in touch with various counsellors that would be able to assist you.
2. Specialist lawyers
It is essential to obtain advice from a specialist divorce lawyer. Without the right advice your divorce will be a slow, painful and costly process. A specialist and confident family solicitor will be able to advise you properly and their experience will mean that they will be much quicker in grasping the issues of your case and therefore your costs will be much lower. Not all law firms are like Rosewood Solicitors and the quality of your solicitor can make all the difference to the outcome to your case. It is vital you get expert representation when going through your divorce with a high level of service. This is the one time in your life where cutting corners could prove to be a real false economy.
3. Check you feel comfortable with your proposed solicitor
It is essential that you are able to communicate and understand your solicitor and vice versa. Unfortunately, the majority of complaints about solicitors are about their failure to communicate with their client properly and not about their legal ability. The solicitor’s main role is to ensure that they can help you understand what is happening.
4. Prepare your paperwork
Ensure that you have gathered all your paperwork including valuations of assets including pensions and bank accounts. It is also advisable to obtain salaries for both you and your spouse. The more information you provide the more structured advice your solicitor can provide you with at an early stage.
5. Honesty is the best policy
You need to be honest to yourself and to your solicitor. Do mention anything that relates to your case even though it could hinder your situation. Do not hide your assets because if you do you will normally be found out and the courts could penalise you. You may say that there is a reason for any bad behaviour but you need to be aware that the court have heard them all before and it will not go in your favour.
6. Change your password
This may sound like an odd piece of advice but it is surprising how many spouses know the password to their partner’s email addresses. We advise you to change the password to prevent your spouse seeing any legal advice that we may give you.
7. Use your friends, family, colleagues, support network
You must never be afraid to ask for support from friends, family or any other person that you trust. We believe that it is helpful to rely on your support network for emotional support. We would, however, make you aware that often people want to tell you what happened in their divorce and that you should get the same “deal”. Please trust us as every case is different and believing what people say to you can cause more problems in your divorce. If you require more emotional support we would be able to put you in touch with various organisations that would be able to assist.
8. Do not make the children a pawn in dispute
It is important to reassure the children that they are not the cause of the divorce or the ones being divorced and that both you and your partner still love them just as much as you did before the breakdown of the marriage. We always advise the clients not to “bad mouth” or argue in front of the children. It is also advisable not to try and influence the children or make them feel bad about the other parent. If you do this you could seriously risk alienating your children when they are old enough to realise what is going on.
Mediation is often a good way of resolving issues in relation to divorce, finances and children in an amicable way. It gives you various options:
It gives you additional time to think about various issues and also to ensure that divorce is the right option for you
The opportunity for your partner to understand your point of view and vice versa. It would hopefully enable you to communicate better with your partner
Reach an agreement on things that you both want/do not want
Get an objective view from a professional person
Negotiate decisions that are agreeable with both you and your partner
Mediation is a cheaper alternative to solicitors negotiating on your behalf or having decisions made for you by the court.
10. I am worried about costs
Your legal fees can be large but this would only be the case where your matter ends up being decided by the court in a long hearing when neither party can agree on a financial agreement. We understand that you will be worried about how to pay your legal fees and we give you the following advice in relation to costs:
We offer a free first consultation over the phone with a friendly legal solicitor who understands that taking the first step can be difficult. We will answer any questions that you ask and this consultation is at no charge and with no obligation;
We also provide a focused free 30 minutes with our specialist solicitor. Again this is at no charge and with no obligation;
We offer a regular monthly payment plan;
If there is any element of your divorce that we are able to offer a fixed fee we will inform you of this;
We can put you in touch with various lenders who may be able to assist you with matrimonial funding to pay for your divorce.
It is important for you to understand who is working on your matter and we can ensure that your solicitor will be your point of contact throughout your case. You will not just be put through to the solicitor’s secretary or any assistant.
In order to keep your costs at a minimum all that we ask is that you give us your clear instructions and avoid changing your mind or making ambiguous statements which can result in unnecessary time delays. We also advise you not to use your solicitor as a source of emotional support, however, if you require someone to talk to we are able to recommend highly skilled and qualified divorce counsellors. Our one piece of advice would be to swallow pride and ideas of retribution and focus instead in what you are trying to achieve.
The divorce process itself is relatively straight forward and in the context of everything else it is a relative footnote and should be achieved with as much dignity as possible for you both. Remember, you and your solicitor are working as a team and your solicitor will help you through your whole divorce process.