If you are experiencing difficulty in your marriage or relationship it is often difficult to know which way to turn. It is vital that you seek some advice at an early stage about what your options are for your own peace of mind and to protect your future position.
- Make sure you go to a family law specialist
Choose a solicitor who specialises in family law and if you feel able to speak to your family and friends and see if they are able to recommend a family law specialist to you.
- Take the plunge and book an appointment.
Try to book the appointment when you are free to spend as long as you may need with the solicitor. There’s little point booking an appointment when you have to dash off after 20 minutes to pick the children up from school. If you can, do not bring the children with you to the meeting because you are also going to be discussing adult issues which are not appropriate for “little ears”.
- Prepare for the appointment.
It can be very daunting to open up and speak to an absolute stranger about the problems that you have been experiencing but a good solicitor will do all that they can to put your mind at ease and it is often a good idea to bring along a close confidant who can be a valuable second pair of ears when emotionally you are not in the right place to absorb the information and advice that you are given. Your solicitor will ask you key information such as the date of your marriage, childrens’ dates of birth etc so if you don’t know this information off the top of your head make a note and take it with you. It is likely that you will also be asked what the estimated current value of your home is and how much is outstanding on the mortgage. How much do you and your spouse earn?. Do you have any savings policies or pension policies and how much are they worth?. Do not worry if you don’t know this information at the first meeting but the more information you can give to your solicitor the more detailed the advice will be.
- Consider what it is that you want to find out and what are you hoping to take away from the meeting.
Have a think about what it is you that you want to know. Your solicitor should give you clear advice on the divorce process and what options are available to you. If you have specific questions that you want to ask, make a note and take a list with you.
- The Plan of action – how do you want to move forward?.
Are you seeking advice on all the options available to you and for you to consider or do you want your solicitor to take some action. Your solicitor should discuss with you what your next steps could be. If you wanted to start the divorce proceedings you will be told what you will need to provide or what further information your solicitor will need. If you do not want to take any positive action immediately it will be up to you to consider your options and to go back to your solicitor when you want some action taken. You are in control of what steps you take. Just by going to see a solicitor does not mean that legal proceedings will be started and you lose control of what you want to do – this is not the case, the first meeting is about listening to your personal situation and advising you accordingly and it is then up to you on what you want to do next.
- Protective measures. Your solicitor should advise you about important decisions or actions you may need to take immediately, such as having a Will prepared or making sure your spouse/partner cannot run up an overdraft on a joint account and reviewing the legal ownership of your family home or any other properties.
- How are you going to fund this? You will be advised of the likely costs of the courses of action you could take. It is extremely hard to estimate costs of court proceedings but you should be given an estimate of what your solicitor will charge, the cost of any court fees or any other fees which are referred to as disbursements. There will also be a range of fixed fee options available.
Call us on 0161 745 9170 for a free, no obligation chat and discuss the fixed fee packages that we can offer.