It is important to take legal advice at an early stage after you separate. Despite what some people think, a good family lawyer will not try to turn an amicable split into an acrimonious one. Being well informed of your rights, responsibilities and the likely outcomes gives you the best information to help keep things from turning sour.
Take advice before entering into negotiations with your ex-partner. You may find you agree something that you’re happy with at the time, but if circumstances change you might not feel as happy later.
A lawyer will help you consider the implications of different scenarios and may also suggest options you haven’t thought of.
It can be very difficult to maintain a good relationship with an ex-partner if you are trying to backtrack from an agreement that you reached without legal advice. It is much better to know where you stand before you start those negotiations.
Lawyers do not just help couples who are unable to reach an agreement. Sometimes clients do agree on the way forward, and they simply want lawyers to formalise that agreement or assist them with making an application for a clean break order – a binding order preventing either party from coming back for more money later on.
It is important to remember that simply reaching an agreement about what will happen does not mean that you are protected in the future from a claim if your ex-partner changes their mind. However, if a lawyer draws up this agreement, you will have the best possible protection against a future claim.