As I sit staring at a blank word document, with just the black line of a cursor blinking back at me, it’s not hard to say that starting something new can be difficult.
Whether starting a new job, taking that first driving lesson or learning to swim, that first step can be an enormously daunting process. As family law professionals it’s something we’re all too aware of – things don’t get much more daunting than the divorce or separation process.
Timing is key
Ultimately, nothing can take that sense of trepidation away, but making sure you feel ready before you seek legal advice is essential. There is no strict timescale you need to adhere to, so choose a time when you feel emotionally ready to act – it will help to ensure that you are more comfortable with the process.
Find out your options
One of the first pieces of advice we offer is – understand your options as once it is clear what lies ahead, the process of seeing the steps which you must take will become much clearer. Remember, however that no two divorce cases are the same as everyone’s financial and personal circumstances are different. So, as well as perhaps carrying out research online or discussing the situation with close family or friends ensure you take the time to discuss matters openly with a legal professional.
Choose your solicitor wisely
As well as researching what’s involved in the legal process, it’s also valuable to take time to gain an understanding of the law firm or solicitor who you choose to act for you.
The process can involve the sharing of difficult information, so ensuring that you have the right personality match can be a key consideration. You may be feeling fragile and need someone who you feel comfortable with opening up to; alternatively, you could be the sort of person who values being made aware of the facts clearly and succinctly.
Also important to consider is the legal approach which is best suited to your circumstances. While all reputable legal professionals work within the same framework, different lawyers can take very different paths. It could be the case that you need to fight for your rights and engage in the type of contentious process so often portrayed in the media.
Alternatively, a more constructive approach could be appropriate. Setting clear boundaries and agreeing to work collaboratively from the outset can have a positive impact on the process and ensure that what can be a devastating period is as amicable as possible. It’s a positive place to start – especially when children are involved and can ensure that, while that first step is uncertain you can be assured by the fact that you will remain in control throughout the process.
Josie McKay is an Assistant within Berwins' industry rated family law team