For some people this is easy – your marriage or relationship has broken down, you have accepted this and are ready to move on. Seeing a family/divorce solicitor is simply the next step in order to get the process started. Or you may have received a letter from your partner’s solicitor or even a divorce petition and need to seek legal advice as to what to do next.
For others however it is not quite so straightforward. Making the decision to see a solicitor can not only be a daunting prospect but also an emotive one.
Whatever your circumstances the fact is there is no right time and you will know if it is the right thing for you to do. In my experience people seek legal advice at all different stages of the process. For some this can be well before they have actually made the final decision that the marriage or relationship has broken down. Seeing a family solicitor at such an early stage can be a great help in the decision making process.
I have also found that for many people stuck in a difficult marriage or relationship seeing a solicitor can be the first step towards taking control of their life and situation and this can feel empowering.
Seeing a solicitor at an early stage can also help alleviate your fears about finances and the children. You may be going through a sticky patch in your marriage but feel frightened to do anything because of stories you have heard about “being taken to the cleaners” or alternatively being left with nothing or losing the children. There is also the fear of huge legal costs. Let’s face it everyone has heard a divorce horror story! There is of course a lot of information on the internet but that information can be mind boggling particularly if you are not thinking clearly.
An initial meeting with a good family solicitor should help to allay those fears and help you decide whether ending your marriage or relationship is the right thing for you at that time. The solicitor cannot of course make that decision for you but giving you the right information about the alternatives to divorce, the legal process, what may happen with the children and most importantly about costs will undoubtedly make you feel better and think more clearly thus enabling you to reach an informed decision.
Of course, you may decide not to seek a divorce or separation at that time and that is fine. There should never be any obligation or onus upon you to take the next step unless you are forced to do so by your wife/husband/partner. The decision is entirely yours. I have seen clients who have not come back to me until a year or two later or in some cases not all. In the intervening period they may have sought marriage guidance or tried to make the marriage work or they may simply not have been ready, financially or emotionally.
For some however seeing a family solicitor at an early stage does not feel right. It can feel like a betrayal of the other party and there are of course feelings of guilt associated with that. It can also feel like a step too far – an acknowledgment that the marriage or relationship is over and that if you see a solicitor there is no going back. This is of course not the case but if this is how you feel then it may be better to wait until you are quite sure that the marriage or relationship is at an end and you feel more accepting of this and ready to take that first step towards a new life.
Whatever your situation or circumstances at Darlingtons we take a sympathetic approach – getting to know you and finding out what is important to you. We can then guide you through the process in a way and at a pace that feels comfortable to you.
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