In many instances clients say to me that they would like a divorce but want to retain a positive relationship with their ex partner. This is often the case where children are old enough to understand what is happening or where the wider family (particularly grand parents), are very close. For me as a family lawyer it is essential to listen at our first meeting to understand what is important for each client.
Every client I see is unique. No two clients have the same set of circumstances, needs and entitlements or wishes as to how they wish me to handle their separation or divorce.
In the early stages of a separation emotions are often running very high. It can be a frightening time, feeling that everything is 'under threat', someone else is controlling the situation, confusing as to what will happen in the future and who to choose to turn to for professional advice and support. If future negotiations are to run positively getting things right at this stage is critical.
In order to keep matters positive my initial advice includes;
Clients can often be concerned that they will 'step onto the legal conveyor belt and things will spin out of their control'. I am able to assure them that this will not be the case as we always ensure that the client has ultimate control and will be able to determine a pace with which the ex partner (and sometimes the wider family) are able to accept. In these circumstances rushing headlong into issue of a divorce petition could be disastrous.
The person who knows the ex partner and 'family' best is the client. Hence, I always work particularly closely with the client in the early days, to ensure that they are fully involved in determining the wording and content of all letters which are sent out. In this way we avoid sensitivities and eliminate as much difficulty arising between the two as is possible in such a tense situation.
All parties involved are usually accepting of the fact that negotiating a divorce settlement can be difficult and most matters can get 'tricky' at certain points, but if handled professionally and in the right way there is a greater chance of maintaining a positive relationship into the future.
My advice, 'choose a family lawyer who has the experience to handle such a delicate situation in the right way and avoid anyone who just wants to 'slot you into their process''.
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