Senior family lawyer Natalie Lester shares her advice for couples going through a divorce and how you can keep relations amicable:
1) Make sure divorce is the right decision
When considering a divorce, it’s important to take the time to think about whether there is any chance of reconciliation. In our first meeting, we’ll ask clients if they have tried relationship counselling to ensure they have the support they need and are making the right decision. There are plenty of divorce coaches and counselling available that can help you navigate these challenging situations. A divorce is final, so you both need to be certain it’s right for you.
2) Try other dispute resolution methods
Wherever possible, we encourage clients to have constructive discussions with their spouse and to try alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation. An impartial mediator can assist with negotiations about matters such as money and property, though they cannot provide advice. You can, however, seek advice from a solicitor during this process. Arbitration is another option, which is faster and more cost-effective than going to court.
3) Understand your rights
Divorce can be a challenging and complex process, which is why it’s a good idea to meet with a family lawyer who can help you understand your rights and provide clarity. Remember, you don’t need to instruct a solicitor any further after your first meeting – you can simply use the consultation as a chance to ask questions and find out more about what the legal process will involve. Knowledge is power and by knowing a little of what to expect, it can help you make the best decisions and put your mind at ease.
4) Always put children first
If you decide a divorce is right for you, it’s important to focus on the most important matters, including your family. If you have children, you will need to make decisions jointly with your spouse to ensure the divorce has minimal impact on them. We can offer information and advice to help you co-parent effectively, make decisions on how to live life apart and help your family move forward. There are lots of free online resources and apps our clients use to help them manage their schedules and arrange contact so they can easily share childcare.
5) Seek legal advice from the start
With the new no-fault divorce law, you will be able to complete the divorce process yourself online, either solely or jointly with your spouse. However, there are still complex decisions that need to be made, including finances and childcare. This can be hard to do if you are unsure of what your current situation is or are unfamiliar with the legal process.
A family lawyer can ensure all the relevant paperwork is completed correctly to avoid delays and save you from incurring additional costs to correct any mistakes. Seeking advice at the very beginning will allow you to start your divorce by putting your best foot forward, helping to keep relations amicable and preparing you for the future.
Everyone’s marriage, family and financial situation are different, which is why it’s important to receive tailored, professional advice so you know what getting divorced means specifically for you. It can be an emotional and stressful time for families, and having the right guidance and support can offer much-needed reassurance.
You can also read more about the new no-fault divorce law here.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.