For some couples this time of year is stressful. Financial strain mixed with childcare and family gatherings can lead to frayed tempers and an explosive environment for couples who are already feeling the strain of a relationship. It’s no surprise that divorce enquiries increase in the New Year.
Our family law team is here to help and the most frequently asked questions are below to help offer you some guidance.
1. Why should I bother with legal advice?
Family Law is a complex area and sound legal advice at an early stage can be really useful. Remember separation affects your life and your children’s lives for years to come. Getting it right in the first place can assist in this difficult process. It can also save on future costs.
2. Do we need to consider arrangements for our children?
Always consider what is in their best interest as opposed to involving them within any argument. Remember they will often pick up on what is being said and done within the household and for them, separation is very unsettling. Of course, steps need to be taken if their welfare is at risk.
3. Is Legal Aid Available? How can I afford legal advice?
For many cases, Legal Aid is no longer available. If you are the recent victim of domestic violence then it may be obtainable. We offer a free telephone consultation as to eligibility and can offer a number of fixed fee products or a monthly payment scheme to help you budget.
4. Which solicitor shall I use?
You should always instruct someone who you can trust. We possess caring and compassionate family lawyers with a high level of expertise and experience. Many of our solicitors have specialist accreditations such as members of the Law Society Children Panel, The Resolution Panel and the Law Society Family Law Panel.
5. When do we resolve finances?
Timing is essential. Sorting it too soon without full consideration of the available assets could result in you accessing too little. If you leave it too late then circumstances may change resulting is less available assets of distributions. Seeking early advice from a specialist lawyer can assist in this respect.
6. Should I ever discuss issues with my ex?
There are many things which can be discussed and agreement of any kind is much better in the long run. It reduces the emotional stress and costs. Provided you are receiving on-going advice from your specialist lawyer then it should cause no problems at all. However, don’t be bullied into agreeing something you are unsure about.
7. Do we have to divorce to sort finances?
No, couples often seek to regulate the financial position with an Order either by agreement or following a contested Court hearing. That Order often provides for a clean break and it is only this that can offer you protection. In some cases couples prefer to wait for a number of years before they divorce and reach a written agreement prior to divorce. Advice as to how to do this is essential.
8. Do we have to go to Court if we cannot agree things?
No, a service called mediation is available to help couples seek a negotiated settlement. It is less confrontational than Court proceedings and can be done at your own pace. It is done in a safe and confidential manner and the mediator is a neutral third party appointed to assist with negotiations. It can cover finances as well as issues concerning children.
9. My ex is violent or threatening towards me – what do I do?
Seek legal advice; you may need an injunction to protect yourself and any children. You may also need to keep your ex away from where you live or regulate visiting restrictions for your children. This is an extremely complex area of law. Our family lawyers are specialists in this area and can offer urgent appointments, along with advice on how to access Legal Aid. We can also help get you access to support groups available in your local area.
10. How long will it all take?
This depends upon how much is agreed early on. Usually matters can be resolved in six months. Bitterly contested cases last a lot longer. Appropriate advice and a willingness to negotiate can help to reduce the timescale. Your solicitor will be able to keep you informed about the timescales as your case progresses.
Let our experience make yours that much easier. If you are facing divorce or simply need advice, call us today by clicking here.