The following is a guest blog written by Samantha Hickman of Veales Wasbrough Vizards.
The New Year often brings new beginnings. For divorce lawyers, there is often a surge in divorce enquiries as a result of spouses planning to break up following the Christmas holidays. Statistically one in five married couples consider separating from their partners after the festive period.
The first working Monday in January is often referred to as “divorce day”. With this in mind, we wanted to share with you some of our ‘top tips’ so that if this article applies to you, or someone you know, it will hopefully prove useful in what can be a very difficult and challenging time.
Despite the bad press divorce lawyers often receive, whenever possible it is sensible to try and resolve matters through cooperation and negotiation. Emotions are often running high, and having a highly experienced and objective lawyer can be crucial in setting the framework for future negotiations. The family team at Veale Wasbrough Vizards are all members of Resolution, an organisation that promotes a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters.
Most solicitors will recommend some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) as a starting point. It is an increasingly popular method of resolving family law disputes (although not suitable for all cases, for example, those cases involving domestic violence). There is an array of choices on offer including mediation, collaborative family law and arbitration. Using an alternative method of resolving matters is sometimes a good opportunity to address issues which would not necessarily be addressed during the process of Court proceedings and can build in flexibility. Many clients are under the misapprehension that if they choose mediation as a way forward it is to the exclusion of taking advice from a lawyer but an experienced lawyer can guide you through the process so that you can achieve maximum benefit.
The first meeting with a solicitor can be a daunting one (although we hope not as daunting as a visit to your dentist!). It is however an important first step to seeking a resolution. The meeting is likely to take place at a time when it may be difficult to retain lots of information or to gather your thoughts. We recommend taking a close friend or family member along with you. Prior to your appointment, it is helpful to gather some basic facts and figures together in respect of your current financial position so that your solicitor has an idea of this right from the outset. Also, consider making a list of bullet points of matters that are of particular concern to you. You will get more out of your meeting if your solicitor is provided with this information either in advance, or at the meeting itself and they should hopefully be able to address any immediate concerns that you may have.
It is easy for family matters to become blurred but try to separate these out. For example, try not to let any financial concerns impact on you or your partner’s relationship with the children. We often find that clients’ who are able to do this are far more effective at co-parenting after their separation or divorce.
We hope that you have found this blog useful, if not for yourself for someone you may know. Thank you to the Ovation team for posting this blog.