It is that time of year when we all look at our lives and make New Year resolutions and maybe try to stick to them.
Often those resolutions relate to things that we are unhappy about and resolve to “do something about it”.
The question is however - what to do?
When the unhappiness involves personal relationships then it can penetrate every aspect of your life - your home life, relationships with wider family members, day to day contact with your children, and even impact on your work. Such issues are so great that no decision can be taken lightly and without careful thought.
Perhaps the first consideration for anyone finding themselves in such an unhappy personal relationship is whether things can be resolved. We would suggest to anyone in that situation that they consider some form of counselling (whether independently or with their partner/other family member) as this really can help. The counsellors now available can, with their proper expertise, help with many different family disputes and not merely those relating to marriage.
Another option may be to consider mediation to resolve the problems. Mediation is an opportunity to both sit down with a mediator who is trained to encourage discussion between you to find a mutually beneficial solution. That solution can be written up into a private document which is not something that could later be used in court without the agreement of both of you. In many situations which later go to court, it is now a requirement for there have at least been a consideration of mediation prior to the commencement of any legal proceedings.
If the issue cannot be resolved then you should consider taking legal advice before making any decision (whether that is relating to divorce, making a financial claim or addressing matters relating to children via the court process). A lot of the initial meetings that I have with potential clients are about what the options are or what would happen if they ended the relationship. Such pre emptive advice can really clarify the mind when making such life changing decisions.
If having considered all other options you feel that some form of legal action may be necessary, find out the correct procedure and the possible outcomes before you do anything. Jumping into a court application only to find you have not put your case in the way it should be put to the court, could impact upon the outcome of the case, not to mention a waste of your court fee.
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