“Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together” – Marilyn Monroe

If the season of goodwill has left you feeling your relationship did not stand the strain then consider taking expert legal advice to find out exactly where you stand.

The first working Monday in January is traditionally known as ‘Divorce Day’ when legal firms see a dramatic rise in queries from spouses planning to break up after tense relations over the holiday period. It is estimated divorce filings jump by one third in January.

Many people plan to separate in January after having one last Christmas together as a family. The holiday period comes with great expectations on everyone. Often fallouts occur over money. Finances are placed under strain and coupled with failing communication, this can sound the death knell for many a relationship.

At Hall Smith Whittingham we have a team of highly experienced and dedicated lawyers who are able to assist you with all aspects of a divorce, from the legal technicalities surrounding issue through to the resolution of disputes around children and money.

From our experience, here are top tips if you are considering separation:

1. Can your marriage be saved? Have you done everything possible to save the relationship including seeing appropriate counselling either separately or as a couple? Divorce is a costly business and will have a high emotional toll on all parties including children for years to come.

2. Have a plan – you need to consider in advance of separation what you will do in relation to accommodation and money, even if only on a temporary basis.

3. Build a good support network – remember if you do go through a divorce, this can be hard on your family and friends so they may not be well placed to assist you. Consider appropriate support groups for separating couples and your local Church and community facilities.

4. Save money to assist you with unforeseen expenditure and legal costs. You may need to establish a new household. Remember it is effectively more expensive to live as a single person.

5. Seek experienced legal advice for the expertise you need to guide you through the process and protect your interests. HSW offer a free 30 minute diagnostic interview and can discuss alternative methods of dispute resolution including Collaborative Law and Mediation. We also offer fixed price work for all stages of the legal processes in relation to both finances and children.

6. Put your children first – it is vital to reassure them that if mum and dad are separating it is not their fault. At all costs, avoid badmouthing your partner to the children. Both parents need to reassure children that they are loved.

7. Protect your personal safety – consider how your partner might react to the issue of a Petition. Divorce can unleash angry potentially violent feelings. If your relationship has had a history of this, you will need to plan appropriately to avoid placing children and yourself in any physical danger.

8. Get your paperwork in order – start a file, keep copies of documents and assemble up to date information with regard to value of investments and details of liabilities. Work out how much it costs you to live when essential bills are met. Take stock of any valuable items for example jewellery and heirlooms which may “go missing” before a divorce is complete.

It is very dangerous to rely on barrack room lawyers or the girl next door. Each case is different and can turn on individual facts. We have a team of very experienced family lawyers including committed members of Resolution and will work towards resolving issues in a non-confrontational manner. Divorce can be an unpleasant business but with forethought, it does not have to be acrimonious and it is always important for the parties to maintain channels of communication to minimise conflict and expense.

For more information contact one of our Family Lawyers today for your free initial meeting.