It is unfortunately that time of year when solicitors are met with a surge in divorce queries. The Christmas holidays can put significant strain on relationships that were perhaps already at breaking point. Alternatively, people see a new year as a new beginning and resolve to finally begin the divorce process after some years of separation.
For whatever reason you might be seeking advice on separation at this time of year, here are some helpful tips when preparing for your first meeting with your solicitor;
Do your research
It’s important to engage a solicitor who is an expert in the area of Family Law. Recommendations are of course useful; knowing someone you know has been through the same process with the same solicitor. But it is important to carry out some of your own due diligence. The firm’s website should be a fountain of information and show the firm and the solicitors’ expertise in family law. Search the solicitors profile on the website and any articles they may have written.
To Google or not to Google
GP’s will always advise us not to Google our symptoms, for a very good reason. The same can of course be said when dealing with separation. However, there are some very useful online tools that can assist you in understanding the process, or point you in the right direction of the services you need. Your solicitor will help signpost you in the right direction as to the best services to lean on for advice.
Bring a friend
Your first divorce meeting is going to be emotionally difficult. Often it is simply the fact you are saying out loud to a professional for the first time that your marriage is over. Perhaps you have to explain to your solicitor the abusive journey leading you to their office. Bring a friend to lean on in the waiting room, in the solicitors’ office, and go for a coffee or something to eat afterwards.
Keep an open mind
When dealing with separation and divorce, and all the emotions that come with it, often the outcome you think you want from your divorce may not necessarily be the best outcome for you and your family. You might want to keep the matrimonial home, at all costs, maybe because of your emotional links to the property. But in actually doing so you could be saddled with a huge mortgage and no disposable income at the end of the month. Your solicitor will talk through your options that are best for you and your family and suggest what financial advice to get.
Understand your finances
Print off your most recent bank statement and familiarise yourself with all your income and outgoings. Do this for every bank account you have. Gather together any credit card statements or loan/mortgage statements you have and get to grips with what you owe. Bring as much of this information with you to your meeting.
Julie Tierney is the Head of Family and Matrimonial law at Edwards & Co. Solicitors in Belfast. If you are looking for advice on separation or divorce please feel free to contact Julie on firstname.lastname@example.org or 028 9032 1863 to make an appointment.
Tagged with: advice for parents, divorce, family life, first divorce meeting, preparing for divorce, relationship break down
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