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For many people, Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness however, for numerous years, family lawyers would see a rise in new divorce clients in January. This is often put down to the pressure of a family being together through the Christmas period.
Christmas is over and the start of the New Year will be the impetus a client needs to make the first move to formally end their marriage.
There will be clients whose marriage is almost at an end, but who have decided to get through Christmas before taking the first step towards divorce however, they want the benefit of some family law advice and the knowledge they have a plan in place before taking the first step towards separation.
WHY TAKE EARLY ADVICE?
It is important to understand both the emotional and financial consequences of divorce. Sometimes these are easy to work out and sometimes they are not.
As lawyers, we are not here to persuade or insist that you separate from your spouse but to offer you reassurance and assistance to ensure you receive the correct advice with which you can make an informed decision, as opposed to taking advice from family, friends, work colleagues or the “man down the pub”.
Early advice may also influence any planned spending or borrowing (such as for a new car – or worse, your spouse’s new car!).
It may also prompt you to consider reducing the overdraft limit on any joint accounts and what to do about additional credit cards in your spouse’s name.
The arrangements for care of the children are also a very important matter to consider. If you will be the parent with care, what is the level of contact your spouse can reasonably expect after separation?
Finally, there is the question of strategy for the actual separation and/or divorce, how are you going to tell your partner or spouse your relationship is at an end? Are you going to tell them personally, with the assistance of a counsellor in a joint therapy session, through a letter from your lawyer etc?
Christmas in an unhappy marriage will not the best of times, but the fact that you have a clear strategy for moving things forward with the correct advice will certainly help to reassure you.
Caroline Gregg is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives in the family team of Terry Jones Solicitors, Shrewsbury Office. Caroline specialises in the financial aspects of relationship breakdown, particularly high value and complex financial work and pensions. To contact Caroline, please call 01743 285 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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