January is said to be one of the busiest times of year for family lawyers, with divorce and separation enquiries peaking in the first weeks of a new year. ‘Divorce Day’ is frequently in the headlines as the first day back to work after the Christmas break - this year the 3rd January. Although enquiries do increase in January, it cannot be said that Christmas is the tipping point that drives couples to see a divorce solicitor. Generally it is not the first time that separation has been considered.
Birketts offers two different initial options for those considering divorce or separation: either a free half hour initial interview or a fixed fee interview. The free half hour consultation offers general overview of the divorce process, whereas the fixed fee interview is approximately an hour long and gives more tailored advice to your specific situation.
To get the best out of your initial meeting with a family solicitor, it is best to be as prepared as you can. You will be asked for the following information.
- Your full name, address, date of birth and occupation
- Your spouse’s full name, address, date of birth and occupation
- The full names of any children and their dates of birth
- The date and details of your wedding and the location of your marriage certificate
- The current value of your property and outstanding mortgage
- The value of any other assets you and your spouse have e.g. savings, pensions, investments etc.
- The value of any debts you and your spouse have, whether they are joint or sole debts
- Details of your income from your different sources e.g. employment, investments, benefits
- An overview of your outgoings
Most importantly, bring any document or correspondence that you have received. If you have received any letters or documents from your spouse or their solicitor discussing divorce it is important that you bring them with you.
The more information that you can provide your solicitor with in the initial meeting, the more accurate and tailored the advice they can provide you.
During the meeting, your solicitor will go through a range of different approaches open to you. These will include:
- constructive negotiation
- court proceedings
For more information on each of these steps, please visit our court and the alternatives webpages.
At Birketts, our family law solicitors are all Resolution members and will consider any possible options for dispute resolution methods to help you reach an agreement either before or during marriage. Each of our four offices has an in-house collaborative solicitor so we can advise on the most suitable option for our clients. To find out more or to book an appointment please contact a member of Birketts’ Family Law Team.