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This week is Resolution’s ‘Good Divorce Week’ – a campaign which takes place each year to promote constructive and peaceful ways for couples to separate.

 

The theme of 2020’s Good Divorce Week is the importance of getting early legal advice. In this article we highlight the benefits of seeking proper advice early on and discuss what to expect from an initial enquiry and appointment with a divorce solicitor.

 

Busting The Myths

 

There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet, and whilst a lot of it may be correct, advice should always be personal to your own circumstances. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to separating so it is key to get bespoke advice that will be applicable to you, your family and your finances.

 

What you see on TV and film is also very far from reality the majority of the time. Recent programmes such as Dr Foster or The Split, portray a very dramatised version of separating, which of course, makes for more interesting viewing than a civil divorce.

 

Friends and family may give you guidance with good intentions, but the likelihood is they could be misinforming you, even if they have been through a divorce themselves, the information may be out-dated and will not necessarily apply to your own individual situation.

 

Our recommendation would be to use friends and family as emotional support rather than legal advice, to use TV and film as entertainment rather than be influenced by the storylines and to take anything you read online purely as guidance always checking the sources and dates on anything you research.

   

Reasons to Seek Advice

 
  • Early advice can help you gain clarity on your position in your relationship
  • Understanding the facts from fiction can help you make informed decisions
  • Appropriate legal advice can help you to have initial discussions around divorce
  • You can know where you stand legally
  • Advice will be bespoke to you
  • Advice will respect how you wish to handle your separation
  • Initial advice sets out the different options and routes
  • Legal advice can bring any areas of required action or concern to your attention
  • Early advice can help you to prepare for separation
  • Advice can help you understand the costs involved with divorce
  • Advice can give you peace of mind
  • Advice can help reduce conflicts and misunderstandings
   

Your First Enquiry With A Divorce Solicitor

 

Making the first step to contact a family solicitor is often the most difficult one to take. It certainly is not unusual to feel very emotional when first reaching out for advice on such a sensitive and private matter. It is worth reminding yourself that divorce lawyers speak to separating couples or those going through stressful family times on a daily basis. They have built up skills to help put people at ease and will not be phased by anyone becoming emotional over the phone or in person.

 

Because making the first contact can be daunting, we thought it would be helpful to outline step-by-step how you go about speaking to a solicitor. Of course, this is our process at Lamb Brooks, and this may differ between other law firms.

 
  • Make your enquiry however you feel comfortable – this can be over the phone via our switchboard, in person at our offices, completing a website form, emailing enquiries@lambbrooks.com or by speaking to our online chat assistant, who is a real person, not a robot. Alternatively, you are also welcome to contact one of our Solicitors directly. Their contact information is all publicly available on the website.
 
  • Let us know from the beginning if there is a good time or method to contact you so that your privacy or routine is not disturbed. We understand that discretion can be important for many people and there may be difficult times to talk, such as when children are around or during work hours. Rest assured our team is adept at fitting around your schedule.
 
  • If you have called us, then our aim is to take some very brief details and put you straight through to the Family Department where you would speak to one of our solicitors directly.
 
  • Our team will need to take some more information and carry out a quick conflict check before going into details. The conflict check is to make sure that we have not already acted for your partner or ex-partner. This is nothing to be concerned about and the information is not stored. If there is a conflict, there is no need to be alarmed, your partner may have used the firm before for other areas of law, such as making a will or moving house; it does not necessarily mean that we are acting for them in relation to a family matter. The solicitor will advise you of next steps at this point if we are not able to help.
 
  • Now is the time to discuss the issues you are facing and to highlight to us any immediate areas of concern you may have. Our solicitors will then run you through the basic process, how we work and what options are available for you. They may need to ask further questions to help them give the best guidance. In most cases, an initial fixed fee appointment will be offered, and this will be explained to you in detail.
 
  • If you are happy to progress, the solicitor will take further details or hand over to our paralegal to book you an appointment. This will then be confirmed in writing via email or letter if you prefer.
 
  • Equally our solicitors are happy to go at your pace.  If you need some time to consider, then – always with your permission in mind –  our team will offer to email you over some more information and schedule a time to follow up with you and see how you are getting on.  If you have agreed for us to call you back, a solicitor will phone or email you in the agreed timescale to see if you need anything else from us.
 

lady making notes seeking legal advice from divorce solicitor

You First Appointment With a Divorce Solicitor

 

Our first priority at your appointment is to ensure you feel relaxed and comfortable and our second concern is to make sure that you get the most out of your fixed fee appointment.

 

If you are meeting with us in person, our procedure is to put you at ease, offer you some refreshments and give you a moment to familiarise yourself with the surroundings and get settled, ready to address your separation.

 

Alternatively, we are happy to hold initial appointments over the phone or via video conference so that you can stay in the comfort of your own home. If this is the case, then we recommend the following:

 
  • Book the appointment at a quiet time where you will not be disturbed
  • Turn your phone on silent once the session has started
  • Find a quiet, comfortable room
  • Make yourself a hot drink
  • Have some water to hand
  • Have in front of you any paperwork
  • Get a note pad and a pen
  • Ensure your viewing device is fully powered or on charge
  • Check that you can hear your solicitor clearly before starting
  • If you need a break at any time – do not hesitate to ask
  • Have a checklist of things you want to make sure are covered
 

At the initial meeting your solicitor will:

 
  • Provide you with tailored advice, specific to your own circumstances
  • Run through all the options and routes available to resolve matters
  • Advise you on costs in a clear and transparent way
  • Advise you on your next steps and recommended strategy
 

After the meeting you will promptly receive a detailed letter of advice along with any additional information that may be useful. This will then be followed up on at an agreed stage and, of course, you are welcome to come back to us with any other queries before formally instructing.

 

For more information about what to expect at a first appointment please click here or read our article on “Top Tips For Your First Meeting With a Family Lawyer”

 

Ready When You Are…

 

When you are prepared to take the first step it is important to do your research into which law firms to contact. This can be done by searching online, looking at websites, reading reviews or by asking friends and family for recommendations.

 

The team at Lamb Brooks are happy to take initial enquires for separation and divorce via phone, email or via our website. Our offices are also open to see clients face to face if that is your preference.

 

Call us on 01256 844888, email enquiries@lambbrooks.com or speak to our online chat assistant.

   

Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

5 Steps For An Amicable Divorce

Tips to Cope With Separation During Lockdown

10 Things You Can Do To Prepare For Divorce

   

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.