Responses to those burning questions!
So, it has now been a few weeks since I provided people with an opportunity to submit their burning family law questions. I have responded to each question individually, but given a number of the questions followed the same theme I thought it apt to post the most popular questions, and provide my answers to assist anyone out there who missed the opportunity to ping me a question.
If my behaviour caused the breakdown of the marriage will this fact be reflected in the financial settlement if the finances are dealt with by the court?
Not generally. This is a very common misconception. In my experience the ‘bad behaviour’ that has justified a departure from equality within the financial settlement has been exceptional, extreme, or connected with financial matters- so one party frittering away savings, dissipating assets etc. If you are concerned that your behaviour may impact upon any financial settlement then do get in touch to discuss your concerns further.
My spouse wants to get a divorce, but I am not sure I want to take this step. Can I be forced into a divorce?
If one party has made the decision that the marriage come to an end for whatever reason, it can be difficult to persuade the court that the relationship has not irretrievably broken down. It does of course take two people to make a marriage work and if one spouse is no longer invested in the marriage, then that’s where problems arise. I would suggest that the key here is communication. If you have not told your spouse how you are feeling about the marriage, then your first step must be to talk; reconciliation may never be on the cards if you are not able to talk to one another about the problems within the relationship.
If you have told your spouse that you do not want the marriage to come to an end, but they are still adamant that divorce is the right step, then there is little you can do in preventing them commencing divorce proceedings. You would however, have the option of defending the divorce. This may cause you more distress, and defended divorce proceedings can be extremely costly. If you wish to discuss defended divorces with me then please do get in touch.
If I instruct a family solicitor to assist me with my divorce, will that one person deal with my case until the conclusion of the proceedings?
This will entirely depend on the firm of solicitors you choose to instruct. Some firms have a team of solicitors who will deal with the different aspects of your case, so you will deal with more than one person.
I am different. I handle each aspect of your case and will be your sole point of contact throughout. I believe that there are several parts to my job, and one of them is developing a relationship with you. Family issues are some of the most sensitive and difficult a person can face, and having to repeatedly tell your painful story to new people is not a good way to deal with problems.
I would only ever ask another person to assist in an emergency, or if I am on holiday and cannot be contacted. To date I have not had to ask anyone to cover for me. Perhaps I haven’t taken enough holiday…
Do I need a Rottweiler of a lawyer to represent me in my family case?
So many people think that they require a solicitor who rushes in all guns blazing, and who is, shall we say, a little bit vicious! This is not the case. If your solicitor’s immediate stance is fight mode this can sometimes have a detrimental impact on how the case will proceed. Fight mode is of course needed in 9 out of 10 cases at some stage but this should not be the first tool your solicitor reaches for in their arsenal of tactics.
On the other hand I would also say that your solicitor should not become emotionally involved in the case, as this can also cause issues. I once had a spouse in a children matter (who was acting without legal representation) say to me that I had no soul, and that I was a monster as in their eyes I was acting for the ‘guilty party’. If I had feelings this would have hurt! Emotion needs to be put to one side so that my focus is on achieving the best result for you, and putting my all into an effective strategy to ensure this can be achieved. Emotions not only slow clients down, but can also impact on solicitors doing the best job they can.
***The views shared are the views of Gemma Richardson of www.familylawkent and should not be attributed to any firm/ individual I represent as a consultant solicitor***