Q. Is it true that Christmas can be a stressful time for marriages?
Sadly, the first week in January is the busiest time of year for divorce lawyers. In 2013, 30,800 divorces were instigated during this time in England and Wales. Sometimes divorce is inevitable – but it’s not all doom and gloom.
Q. What is the first thing I need to do?
Talk to friends and family who can provide you with emotional support. Then find the right lawyer for your needs – you will need someone you can talk to, who you feel understands you and your situation. Make a list of all of the assets, income and pension provision that you and your spouse have. Write down account numbers and providers so you have everything to hand. This is not strictly necessary but can help later down the line.
Q. Separation and divorce often lead to antagonism and bitterness. Can this be avoided?
The Family Law Company looks at each situation as a problem to be solved, not a battle to be fought – we want to help to resolve rather than encourage competitive behaviour. We are conscious that divorce often involves children, and that parents will have to meet at parents evenings, graduations and weddings. There is no benefit to a solicitor stirring up the process. My personal maxim is ‘stop the shouting and start the talking’.
Q. What if you hit a brick wall?
The Family Law Company will help you work through any problems that seem insurmountable, and provide you with clear direction on how to get through. However, although we will not turn matters into a battle, we are definitely not wallflowers! If clients are being taken advantage of, or are being abused, we will take a firm line.
Q. I don’t want to go to Court – is there another way?
Court should always be the last resort. Other options include:
Mediation: You and your spouse meet with an independent mediator trained to resolve disputes. This can help you reach an agreement that suits the whole family, rather than having a decision imposed by a judge who does not know either of you.
Collaborative Law: You both instruct your own lawyers and agree not to go to Court. You actively agree to sit down, talk and resolve your issues.
Family Arbitration: You instruct a qualified arbitrator to make a decision on your case. You will each have to instruct your own lawyer, but this removes the need to go to Court, which can take a long time and cost a lot of money.