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Divorce Day: What to Consider Before You Instruct a Solicitor

Divorce Day: What to Consider Before You Instruct a Solicitor

Kate Ryan Discusses Divorce Day

The date of the 7 January has for some time been considered by many as “divorce day”. The day of the new year when people who are considering embarking upon a divorce take the first (often nerve-wracking) step to instruct or contact a solicitor.

Making the decision to commence divorce proceedings or leave a long-term relationship is never an easy one. The reasons behind why the relationship has broken down will vary and depend upon the individual circumstances. However, often there are things anyone considering a divorce or seeking further advice about the process can consider before the first step to instruct a solicitor is taken. These practical steps can assist people through what is naturally a traumatic time for the individual and other family members both emotionally and financially.

  1. Research – Do your research and try to find an experienced family solicitor that you feel you could work with. Naturally, this is an incredibly sensitive and difficult time and you need to feel that you can openly discuss your circumstances and trust in the advice and guidance you receive from an experienced solicitor with the right approach for you. This could result in your meeting several different solicitors, looking online and speaking with trusted friends and family members who may have been through the same experience.
  1. CostsConsider how you can fund the process and always discuss costs at the first meeting with a solicitor seeking clear guidance of fees at all stages and in a worst-case scenario. Often, fixed fee costs for certain aspects of the work can be agreed too. There are also companies that provide legal loans to fund a case (this is only relevant for cases that unfortunately require court proceedings) and if eligible this would mean a set amount is provided at the outset. This can eliminate the stress of dealing with legal fees and would be beneficial if you then recovered capital once the finances were settled to pay the loan off. Whilst there will inevitably be a cost to instructing a solicitor this does not need to be extortionate or disproportionate to the circumstances of any particular case, particularly if parties are substantially in debt or have a low income.
  1. Mediation – Consider whether mediation is appropriate at the outset and look for a qualified and sensible mediator who can assist you in resolving your issues. This can avoid having to communicate with your solicitor regularly at least whist mediation is going on. However, having a solicitor to turn to for clarification or further advice whilst mediation is ongoing can also be beneficial and helpful in reaching an agreement. Mediation is not appropriate for any individuals who have experienced domestic violence or were in a coercive or controlling relationship. However, if this is not the case then mediation can be used to construct a structure of an agreement for both children and finances that is best for the family as a whole.
  1. Conciliatory approach – Where possible if you and your spouse /partner can communicate about the situation, the potential arrangements for the children or on what aspects of a case you feel you require more legal input, this will assist in moving things forward and reducing costs. Obviously, this is not possible or appropriate in all situations.
  1. Support – Seek support from other health and wellbeing professionals that can support you and your family during this time. This is often invaluable for any one dealing with a family or relationship breakdown but particularly for those suffering from depression or anxiety as a result of their situation.
  1. Wealth protection – Seek advice from a financial specialist who can provide clear advice on your options in the future regarding any investments, properties or pensions. This can be very beneficial in understanding your options and addressing any concerns you have regarding affordability and providing for yourself and your children moving forward.

Whilst everyone’s situation is unique the above points may assist people embarking upon this process. Should you wish to discuss anything regarding the divorce process, children, the marital finances or mediation then please contact Kate Ryan or a member of the family team at IBB.

For more information on IBB’s Wealth Management Service please click here.