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Family Law Blog

Comment on divorce & family law

Preparing to speak to a divorce lawyer

You’ve made the difficult decision to end your marriage and want to speak to a divorce lawyer. You may be nervous about the first call with your divorce lawyer or simply not know where to start. This blog will help you prepare and make the most of the conversation with your chosen divorce lawyer.

Be prepared for personal questions

Be prepared to give a brief precis of your situation and your decision to seek advice. Your divorce lawyer will need to understand your personal situation to give you the best possible advice. They will need to know about your family circumstances, your children, where you live, your finances, the length of your marriage and lots more. They will ask what has caused you to make the decision to divorce too.

These questions are all relevant to the advice they will give, which will be tailored to your circumstances.

Be honest with your divorce lawyer

A divorce lawyer cannot act in your best interests if they don’t know the whole story. If you aren’t totally open, it can end up being a bit like painting a wall in the dark. You may well get the job done but no one is going to be particularly happy with the end result and you may need to rectify any mistakes.

If you are already in a new relationship tell them. If you have worries about how your spouse will react to the fact you want to divorce them, let them know. If the divorce has been started by your spouse but you are hoping for a reconciliation say so.

As things progress you will also need to be honest about your finances. Reaching a divorce settlement relies on an open and honest discloser by both parties, so be prepared to share all the relevant financial details your lawyer asks for.

There is no merit in exaggerating your partner’s behaviour, it won’t make any difference to the end result.

Share your priorities

Tell your lawyer what is most important to you. What are your priorities? Do you want things to go through as quickly as possible? Do you want to try to stay in the family home with the children? Are you worried about how you will cope financially? Telling your lawyer these things up front gives them clarity on which approach to take and the advice you will need along the way.

Manage your expectations

If you start form a standpoint of “I want the house, kids and all his money”, you may well be disappointed. Try not to be influenced by what others tell you about their divorce. Each case is unique.

If you understand the following this may help:

  • A divorce takes about 6- 9 months, depending on how busy the courts are at the time. However, it’s important to understand that the divorce itself is only the legal ending of the marriage and does not resolve any disputes about finances or your children, which may take longer to sort out.
  • The law concerns itself with what is in the best interests of the child and in most cases that means a child should have a relationship with and spend time with both parents. So, having a standpoint that you want ‘sole custody’ or don’t want the other parent involved in your child’s life is rarely the right stance to take.
  • In terms of finances once you’ve been married for a while all money and assets are considered joint and the starting point for dividing assets is that they will be shared 50:50. Therefore starting from a position of he/she’s not having anything of mine, isn’t entitled to half of the house or can’t touch my pension, might not be the best approach.

Try to avoid sharing your emotions

Don’t be embarrassed if you are upset that’s understandable, but when you speak to a family lawyer you are looking for their considered legal help and advice, so it’s important that you are in the right frame of mind to be able to hear that advice and be able to take it. The more you prepare the more able you will be to control your emotions. In our experience (and certainly in the case of the Woolley & Co lawyers) divorce lawyers are very empathetic, but they are not the best people to help you deal with the emotional fall out of divorce – there are better qualified professionals who can help.

You might find it useful to speak to a trusted friend before and/or after you speak to your lawyer, so that you can lean on them for emotional support.

Prepare your questions for your divorce lawyer

Have a think about the things you need to know now.  You might be concerned how your family lawyer will handle your case and their level of experience (dealt with in 5 important questions to ask a family lawyer before you instruct them). You might have specific questions about your legal rights, or practical questions about whether you should move out of the family home. Our blog 12 common questions for divorce and family law solicitors will help you prepare for your first call.

It is important that you get the best possible advice before you take any action. We’re so committed to this we offer a free initial telephone consultation before you appoint Woolley & Co to handle your case.

Michelle Brammer
Divorce lawyer Derby

Blog Author - Michelle Brammer

Michelle Brammer Michelle Brammer

Michelle has built an excellent reputation acting for people from all walks of life - from homemakers, to farmers, politicians, business owners and CEOs.

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