Issuing divorce proceedings can be a very difficult and stressful time for you and your family. If you do make the decision to divorce, there are steps you can take to make the process easier. From instructing your solicitor to obtaining a financial consent order, these are our top tips.
Build a rapport with your solicitor
Finding the right solicitor is key to a smooth divorce process. Make sure you research the services out there, and try to get recommendations from family and friends. It’s worth speaking to your chosen solicitor before the initial meeting so that you can begin to build a good rapport with them. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the solicitor you do choose to instruct, as you will be discussing quite sensitive information with him or her.
Remember, the first meeting is key
The initial meeting can be quite informative, but can also be overwhelming. If it helps bring a close friend or relative along with you for support and make a list of questions that you may want to ask. This way you can make sure that you get the most out of this meeting as possible. If you do then choose to instruct your solicitor, they should confirm everything that was discussed during the meeting in writing. You could always ask your solicitor for a leaflet or client guide that may have a step by step guide outlining the divorce process as a whole.
Take time for your emotional wellbeing
Going through a divorce can be both mentally and emotionally draining. However, it’s important not to treat your solicitor as a counsellor. Whilst your solicitor will expect you to be tearful at some appointments it may be worth considering being referred to a good counsellor via Relate or your GP. This may then enable you to focus more on the legal aspects of your case.
Consider the big decisions early
Dividing the finances can often be a sticking point for many couples. It’s best to talk to your solicitor at a very early stage of the divorce process about the matrimonial finances. Your solicitor should discuss the importance of undertaking full financial disclosure before reaching any agreement with your former spouse. Savings, the family home and pensions should all be considered. Without knowing exactly what’s in the matrimonial pot, your solicitor will not be able to fully advise you. In some cases, couples are able to come to an agreement about how the assets should be split quite easily, but if your former spouse is not willing to co-operate after a couple of letters it may be best to consider a referral to Mediation.
Tie up all the loose ends
Those who issue divorce proceedings are often of the view that matters have concluded once the decree absolute has been pronounced. However, this is not the case, especially if there are matrimonial finances to resolve. Many are unaware of the importance of obtaining a financial consent order. In simple terms, if there is no specific court order to deal with financial matters, the door is always open for either spouse to make a claim at any stage in the future, even if you are already divorced.
Jennifer Carr, matrimonial solicitor, Paul Crowley & Co solicitors