Sadly, the New Year often brings an increase in the number of people considering a divorce. While some will have made this decision before the festive season, it can come as a bolt out of the blue for others. If you ﬁnd yourself in this position, here are four resolutions to protect yourself and to minimise the pain and cost of divorce for you and your children.
Personal recommendation is always best but make sure you pick a lawyer who listens to you and understands what is important to you. Having someone on your side who really knows their stuff is all important. Your lawyer should be a family law specialist with wide experience of cases like yours - particularly if your case involves complex pension issues or business interests. Every case is different and there are many options open to you including mediation and arbitration. Make sure your lawyer gives you clear guidance on the best way forward for you and your family.
Although you want to have a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable, you should use their time (and your money) wisely and cost-effectively. Your lawyer should be able to refer you to a counsellor or divorce coach who can support you through the process in a much more cost-effective manner leaving your lawyer to use their expertise for the legal issues. It is normal to feel anger and bitterness but these are extremely destructive emotions. Don’t shy away from seeking out the help you need to deal with your feelings. Family and friends will undoubtedly be supportive but often their own emotions get in the way of providing you with the clear pragmatic advice you need.
If your case involves a ﬁnancial settlement, try to get to grips with your ﬁnancial situation. Although you should not take documents belonging to your spouse, there is nothing to stop you from looking at them and taking notes. If you think there is a risk that they will be destroyed or removed, you may take them to your lawyer who will pass them to your spouse’s lawyer for safe keeping and to ensure that they are disclosed. Your lawyer will need up-to-date details of your property, pensions, other assets and income. You can keep your costs down and ensure that things are dealt with in a timely fashion by gathering this information together.
If it looks as if your relationship is in trouble, get advice and get it early. That advice is conﬁdential and your other half need never know but, if the worst happens, you can be reassured that you already have someone on your side who is ready to take action if necessary. It also prevents you from making the wrong choice of lawyer when stressed or in shock.