What to expect from your divorce solicitor and 5 ways you can prepare for your first meeting
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Relationship break downs and divorce can be an emotional time for you and your family. In the lead up to your first meeting with your family lawyer, it’s normal to feel nervous, anxious and upset.
We spoke to family solicitor Katharine Scoot from HRJ Foreman Laws Solicitors who shared her thoughts and tips to help you prepare for your first meeting. This is what she had to say.
1. You don't need to understand everything about the divorce process
Your solicitor will guide you through the process and explain what will happen during your first meeting. I know it can be daunting meeting with your family solicitor for the first time but we're here to make you feel comfortable, safe and you can talk to us.
2. Take care of the admin before you get there
There are a few things you can prepare beforehand to help you get the most out of your first meeting. Put aside any documents you'll need including photographic ID and a recent utility bill with your current address on. Don't worry if you don't have every detail just yet, but the more you know, the more productive your first meeting will be.
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It's a good idea to bring along your marriage certificate and any legal documents from your partner/spouses' solicitor if you have them and contact details of how we can contact them when necessary. It's also helpful to know any important key dates, for example, when did you begin living with your spouse or partner? When did you marry and what date did you separate? We'll also need the names, dates of birth and current living arrangements for any of your children.
3. Jot down any questions you have
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Make a list of all your questions and concerns to ensure you get the answers and information you need. Remember, there's no such thing as a stupid question. We don't expect you to be a legal expert, that's what we're here for. Ask as many questions as you like. It's our job to make sure you're fully informed and understand all of your options.
4. Put your family first
You can talk about any childcare arrangements with your solicitor and discuss the options to share the time you spend with your children.
We can advise on the ways to resolve issues without having to resort to the courts such as:
Collaborative law, which puts you and your partner or spouse in control of the separation process. All negotiations are conducted in four-way face to face meetings with a view to achieving a fair settlement. It can be used to resolve issues in relation to arrangements for children, finances and property matters.
Or family mediation. This is a voluntary and confidential process that helps you to reach decisions and joint solutions through discussion with an independent mediator. It can include arrangements for children, finances and property matters. We can refer you to a mediator. When you're ready to move forward, we'll help you to prepare the necessary documents to formalise your agreement and ensure they're legally binding.
5. Handle your financial matters
It's helpful if you have a list of any assets that will need to be considered as a part of your divorce settlement. If you own your own home together do you know how much is outstanding on the mortgage?
As we begin to negotiate your divorce settlement, we'll consider living expenses for you and your family. We'll work with you to understand costs for day to day living, childcare, school, extra-curricular activities and healthcare. This helps us build a picture of your life and negotiate a fair deal for everyone.
Life after divorce
Our conveyancing team can also support you through any property sales and purchases and our Wills, Trusts and Probate team will help to ensure you are prepared for the future. We're on hand to help you through the difficult decision to start your divorce proceedings and represent the best interests of you and your family
HRJ Foremans Laws Solicitor's family law team is based in Hitchin at 25 Bancroft, Hitchin, SG5 1JW. Call 01462 458711 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting with a family lawyer. They also have offices in Letchworth Garden City. Visit www.hrjforemanlaws.co.uk to find out what legal services they can offer you.