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Divorce Process – top 10 pitfalls

Harrogate based Family Law solicitor, Tim Mellors, presents his top ten pitfalls made during the divorce process.

If Then
1. If you don't' shop around for the sort of legal service you want... Then you may well wind up with the wrong kind of lawyer.
2. If you don't prepare and come to your first appointment with a list of questions... Then there is a risk that the first meeting might be unproductive and potentially frustrating as you may leave feeling that you're no further forward.
3. If you don't think about timing... Then you might be unable to control the process and retain the initiative. Instead you may find yourself reacting to the other side's agenda.
4. If you don't obtain a clear estimate as to costs and agreeing how your case will be funded... Then you risk the whole exercise costing far more than you would wish.
5. If you dismiss mediation... Then be prepared for the expense, stress and uncertainty of Court proceedings.
6. If you don't try to agree with your spouse how you will approach the divorce itself... Then you might incur costs needlessly.
7. If you settle too early... Then you might end up with far less favourable terms than would wish.
8. If you are not ready to compromise... Then be prepared for a long, expensive and stressful battle.
9. If you don't stay calm... Then your spouse may benefit from your estate in the event you die.
10. If you don't take your lawyer's advice... Then you may end up with an unfavourable settlement.

Case Study One - Communication

In a particular case, a client informed their lawyer that he had not spoken to his wife for over two years and that he had no intention of doing so. As a consequence, it was difficult to identify any common ground and the negotiations for a financial settlement proved to be time- consuming and expensive. Due to the lack of compromise, very costly court proceedings had to be issued to resolve matters. If the parties had been able to communicate from an early stage, the outcome could have been so different and it would have cost both parties significantly less money, taken less time and caused less emotional stress.

Case Study Two - Take heed of the advice - it will benefit you in the long term

Every family solicitor has experience of their advice not being taken. Not infrequently, clients have set ideas as to what the terms of their settlement should be. Pension sharing is the legal way of dividing up a pension between a couple after divorce or the dissolution of a civil partnership, but many clients are surprised to be advised that a pension sharing order can and should be made in their favour, and yet it is not uncommon for such advice to be disregarded, thereby jeopardising their provision for old age i.e. forgoing a legitimate share of the other person's pension.

Case Study Three - Help yourself - it will save time and money

In one case a client presented her essential financial documents in considerable disorder in a large cardboard box. She had no appreciation as to the extent of her wealth and was not prepared to come to terms with it. The cost to her of a lawyer sifting through the documentation, identifying the relevant from the irrelevant, and piecing together her capital, pension and income circumstances was significant and could have been avoided with a little bit of preparation in advance.

Case Study Four - Where trust no longer exists - it can be expensive

On a separate occasion, the wife in the case, instructed her lawyer that she was not satisfied that her husband's disclosure as to his financial position was correct, and she informed her lawyer that she believed that he was hiding assets and spending freely. She instructed her lawyer to make an application to court for an order freezing his assets and a search order to enter his premises to search for and seize documents. Needless to say, the cost to both of them in financial and emotional terms could have been avoided by greater transparency and a more collaborative approach.

Tim Mellors is an Partner in our Personal Law Department and is based in Harrogate.

Tim has specialised in the field of divorce and family finance for over 25 years. Dealing with all issues relating to the end of a relationship whether this concerns property, money, inheritance, pensions or children.

For further advice on the above topic or related issue please contact Tim Mellors on 01423 851 126 or ku.oc1720861226.fcl@1720861226sroll1720861226em.mi1720861226t1720861226

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