1st January 2020
How to choose your divorce lawyer
Although statistics tell us that almost half of marriages end in divorce, the knowledge that thousands of other couples are going through the same thing is little consolation when your own marriage is breaking down.
For most people, divorce is unknown and often frightening territory. Important decisions in relation to arrangements for children or finances must be made, which can have far reaching and significant consequences for all members of the family. These decisions would be difficult enough to make at the best of times, but unfortunately, in divorce, they have to be made at the worst possible time, when emotions are high and relationships stretched, sometimes to breaking point and beyond.
So where can you turn for advice? Family and friends can offer invaluable support, but beware any advice to get a hard-hitting lawyer who ‘completely destroys the opposition’ and ask yourself whether you really want someone who goes in, all guns blazing, regardless of the consequences. Divorce is not a game, and whilst in the heat of the moment, it might feel satisfying to score points at any cost, try to remember that there will be life after divorce (however difficult it might be to imagine!) and so the way in which you approach these crucial decisions may have long term consequences, both financial and emotional.
Any goodwill which survives the initial breakup of a marriage is precious and so should not be further damaged by over aggressive lawyers. In our experience, most people going through divorce want a lawyer who will provide sensible and constructive advice and guidance, to help them reach a settlement that makes the most of the family’s available resources, rather than someone who wastes those precious resources in pursuing expensive court proceedings at all costs.
No two divorces are the same, just as no two families are the same and a good divorce lawyer will work with you to understand your specific needs and priorities and will advise you how best to meet them. For most couples, options such as collaborative law or mediation offer a more effective and cheaper way to resolve issues and are far less emotionally damaging than court proceedings.
Going through a divorce is rarely easy and so you need a lawyer in whom you have complete confidence and trust. The best way to find out whether someone is the right lawyer for you is to meet them, so try to arrange a short, initial meeting to allow you to discuss the issues which matter most to you and to find out about the options available to you.
If you would like further advice, we offer a free 30-minute meeting with one of our family lawyers. To make an appointment at our Tunbridge Wells, Cranbrook or East Grinstead Office, please contact our team secretary Louise Huxstep on T: 01892 502 338 or E: LHuxstep@bussmurton.co.uk
This article was first published in the January 2020 edition of The Wealden Times magazine.