Traditionally, more people file for divorce in January than any other time of the year. After the Christmas lock-in with a spouse, tensions often rise to the point where the idea of divorce makes its way onto the New Year’s resolution list.
Our divorce expert, Carline Gayle-Buckle gives some simple advice on how to avoid a stressful, expensive and drawn-out divorce.
Seek professional advice
Emotions are often the driver in the divorce process and the angrier and hurt a client is, the more likely that the divorce will be acrimonious. Speak with professional counsellors and family therapists at the very beginning to help you process your thoughts. This will help you make sensible decisions that will protect you in the future and save you money in the long run.
Be clear on costs
The most common concern amongst first-time divorcees is the likely cost. Don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor for a clear price at the start of the process once you have agreed the support you require of them. Our solicitors will offer you guidance when you first instruct them, allowing you to avoid legal costs that spiral out of control.
Keep communication open and friendly
This may not always be possible, but it is in everyone’s interest if you are able to discuss and agree arrangements concerning your children and finances together with your ex-partner. The longest and most expensive divorce cases are amongst ex-partners whose relationships have completely broken down and they only communicate through legal representatives. Mediation or the collaborative law process are options you may consider if this is the case. Moore & Tibbits offers the collaborative process and work alongside several good mediators.
Talk to friends and family
Whilst you should always seek the advice of a professional, asking for support and advice from friends and family can also really help. With almost half of UK marriages ending in divorce, you are bound to know somebody who has been through the process. Find out what worked well and learn from their mistakes.
Don’t let others cloud your judgment
Be wary of people who are quick to criticise your ex-partner as they may make it more difficult for you to keep things on civil terms. Always remember it is in your best interests to keep things friendly.
Research your finances
If you have already begun to investigate your finances ie. Mortgage capacity, alternative accommodation cost, this sets the initial meeting with the solicitor on a realistic footing and progress can be made more swiftly than having to refer to independent financial advisors, tax accountants etc. It is also a good idea to try and make a list of who owns what. If this can be agreed early on, disagreements over low-value items can be avoided so your solicitor can focus efforts on more important things such as property, pensions and living arrangements for your children.
The more you argue, the more it will cost
Clients need to be pragmatic and ready to negotiate and settle and be mindful of the fact that extra legal costs will ultimately lessen the final settlement you receive.
Do not hide information – it will come out!
Sometimes a client may think it is ingenious to conceal important information that they think may work against them and that their spouse/solicitor will never find out. The truth invariably comes out and if in the middle of court proceedings, will adversely affect your outcome. Let your solicitor do their job properly by giving them all the information.
Why pay a solicitor to give you legal advice and simply ignore their guidance? If a solicitor has indicated it is a poor deal, it usually is.
If you have a query regarding a family issue, please call Carline for free initial advice on 01926 491181 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.