Top 10 Tips for Family Law Clients

Here are our top 10 Tips to reduce stress and get the best outcome during your family law issue.

1. Start as you mean to go on

Relationship breakdowns can be stressful for all. You should take legal advice as early on as possible so that you can focus on resolving issues. It is better for all to be as calm and focused as possible rather than let resentment guide you. If you start off this way then hopefully this can continue throughout your case to help achieve a swift and successful resolution.

2. Be open and honest

In all your dealings, you should be open and honest. Hiding information only results in increased costs and animosity as well as lengthier disputes. Everything always comes out in the end and depending on your situation you could find yourself not just worse off but having to pay the costs of your ex-partner.

3. Be respectful of all involved

It can be difficult to be respectful towards someone who has hurt you. However, if you are rude or difficult then this will not make your ex-partner inclined to negotiate. Seeking revenge can often be self- destructive. If there are children involved you will have to deal with your ex-partner in the future and a hostile relationship will make co-parenting very difficult.

4. Consider long term and short term

Some of your long and short-term goals may be the same but often what you need now will not help you in the future. Often people are not concerned with their pensions now but when they retire it is most people’s only source of income. Equally what you arrange for the children now will not likely affect you when they are adults. By considering both points of view it can help you walk away with a result that works both now and in the future.

5. Put the children first

In any case where there are children involved then their welfare should be the first thing to consider when you are making decisions. Children are often those most affected by family breakdowns and will remember their experience for the rest of their lives. The Court considers the children’s welfare to be vital in any case where they are involved and so should you.

6. Pick your battles

Resolving issues whether big or small is the only way to reach a settlement. When you fail to resolve the issues you will likely end up in expensive, stressful and costly contested Court proceedings. Is it worth arguing over the toaster when you are also trying to negotiate on what share of your Husband’s pension you will have? Equally, consider if it is worth arguing over the fact that on one occasion the children were handed over 5 minutes late if you are trying to secure overnight contact. Consider where it is best to exert your energy and spend your legal costs.

7. Look forward not back

Look towards when your case will be over and you can move on. If you spend your case focussed on the actions of the past and attempting to allocate blame for the relationship breakdown then this will hamper your ability to negotiate successfully. Calculating the exact number of minutes of contact you are ‘owed’ from the last two years or producing bank statements of who has bought what share of the groceries will not help your case. Look at what outcome you want and work towards that rather than trying to punish your ex-partner for the past.

8. Consider settlements

If an offer to settle is received you should consider this carefully. Often offers made will not be acceptable, at least initially. Focus on the positive and consider your options carefully. Blunt rejection of offers to settle can often inflame matters however if you accept an offer without fully considering it then you may find yourself worse off. Equally, you should not delay when considering offers as most have a time limit attached.

9. Consider all the options

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Often the best thing is not running off to Court. We will always help you to consider your options, sometimes the best option can be to wait and see how things evolve. Equally sometimes you need to take action quickly. Not everything requires a shirty letter or a Court application. Considering all the options can help you make calm decisions in the best interests of you and your family.

10. Don’t assume that what works for someone else will work for you

Each case is different. Relationships break down for different reasons and everyone has different finances. What is appropriate for a family with children is not the same for a couple without. Equally one parent staying at home with the children whilst the other works will impact a case differently than if both parents work full time. Whilst you may know others who have been through a similar experience remember that what worked for them will not necessarily work for you.

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