Divorcing clients, don’t get yourself into a mess or cause unnecessary worry
Family law Partner and Department Head,Daniel Prince, provides his view on how people who believe their finances might not stretch to pay for a divorce can still proceed with the advice and support of a helpful and knowledgeable solicitor.
“With the ongoing drastic cuts in the availability of legal aid and the testing current economic climate, more and more people are choosing to deal with their own legal matters, as they believe they have no other options available to them.
However, this often causes unnecessary stress, confusion and acrimony between the separating parties, which could be avoided if either or both sought some legal advice early in the case, before the positions became entrenched.
I have recently met with several clients, either in our free legal clinic, the legal clinic at the Oldham County Court or new cases booked into my own diary, where it became very obvious very quickly that these people had not been able to make any progress in their own cases through fear of taking the wrong step, or simply not knowing what to do next, or being overly concerned about something that the other side had done which in reality didn't matter and was not worth worrying about. Such issues often cause unnecessary delay, which in turn often heightens the tension between the parties in what in any event, often is a highly charged emotional time for both.
Many people had issued their own divorce papers either in person at Court, or online, but after having got so far things stalled as something had happened, such as the other party failing to respond to the papers in time. With expert legal advice, such issues are relatively easy to overcome as in these cases; there was a false economy in acting without a solicitor. I have also come across financial situations where the most financially vulnerable party was afraid to move matters forward out of fear as to what might happen, when if advice had been taken, we could have reassured them and given them the confidence to proceed to achieve a resolution to their case.
I have also found that many people have gone on to the Internet to seek out answers to their problems, and, whilst this can be helpful, it should be viewed with extreme caution, as each case turns on it's own facts and merits with no two cases being alike. Family law work is very complicated as it has to balance out legal principles against the often differing personal circumstances of the parties, and at the same time the solicitor or solicitors involved in the case should be doing their very best to defuse any acrimony that exists between the parties.
People should realise that they can obtain a free initial interview from most reputable solicitors firms, and at my firm, Pearson Solicitors, we run free legal clinics each Tuesday and Thursday, during which we can give initial advice and provide quotes for the potential costs involved in the case, should the client choose to instruct us.
I often find that the costs are nowhere near as much as the client was expecting, and that many people have no idea that they can come to an arrangement with us for payment of the costs on a monthly basis as the case progresses.
My message therefore is that if you feel as though you don't know where to turn, or have got yourself into a mess, then make an early appointment to see us and we can hopefully alleviate some of your stress.”
Solicitor, Daniel Prince, is a family law specialist, Partner and Head of the Family Department at law firm, Pearson Solicitor headquartered in Oldham with offices in Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne.
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Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
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