What to Consider Before your Divorce

  • Think about whether you really want to divorce; consider counselling. For example, just because one of you has had an affair doesn’t mean that your trust can’t be rebuilt.
  • Find a good divorce lawyer, you need a family law specialist and one you can trust, so you can talk through your issues.
  • Remember divorce is not a cheap option, but having said this I have seen many clients who have come to see me too late in the process and sometimes it’s not possible to undo what’s been done or said. There’s no excuse for not getting legal advice early on; plenty of law firms, ours included, offer free advice. You should take advantage of that.
  • Consider a Separation Agreement instead of a divorce. This keeps your options open and can be the groundwork for your divorce settlement later on if you don’t reconcile.
  • Do seek a second opinion if you are unsure about the advice you are receiving.
  • Don’t stop communicating with your spouse. You can achieve much more if you are talking to one another.
  • Be prepared to negotiate & settle – don’t have too fixed ideas in your head about what you want. The more flexible you are, the more likely you are to reach an early agreement and the less you will pay in costs.
  • Put aside the emotion. Both the personal feelings you have for your spouse and also perhaps the desire to ‘win’. There are absolutely no winners or losers in family law. Try to think in a clear headed way.
  • Talk to friends and family members. Don’t keep it all to yourself as it can become overwhelming. They will keep you sane. Try not to lose your sense of proportion.
  • Don’t see things in terms of black and white; this is rarely the case in family law. What clients don’t appreciate is that judges have a wide discretion in divorce and financial cases. That means one judge might award a wife 50% of the assets, and another might give her 70% but neither of them is wrong.
  • Be proactive. Lots of people think that court hearings just happen to them when in reality you have to make court applications for all orders. You have to apply for a divorce, also for a financial hearing and a separate application for children cases. The court expects you to reach your own settlement and you only go to court if you can’t agree.

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