Family law can be both emotional and very personal, and in my years of practice, I have unfortunately witnessed the fracturing of many families following bitter divorces. In what are often the most tragic worst-case scenarios, people can understandably be overcome with despair, anger, humiliation, revenge and the inability to let go.
However, it is especially important that in these instances, we take stock of how our emotions have taken over our ability to think logically. Critical financial decisions – like those made during divorces – must be made in a dispassionate manner. Otherwise, subpar outcomes become more likely, as one’s judgement can be severely obscured in the heat of such a difficult process.
Drawing upon my experience with many divorcing parties, I offer these seven tips to ensure that you remain in control and successfully manage your divorce:
Hire a good solicitor
While it may sound obvious, I cannot emphasise this point enough – you entrust your solicitor with your emotional and financial wellbeing. This is not picking a hairdresser – it is a decision that may impact you for the rest of your life. Your solicitor is your advocate and spokesperson for the duration of your case. It is crucial, therefore, that you trust them and are confident that they will deliver the best possible outcome. Be selective, as the stakes are too high to permit disappointment.
Seek out the right legal advice
While services like Google and ChatGPT are both remarkable and can provide valuable basic information, you should be wary of the information available on the web. It is only through many years of experience and exposure to litigation at Court that I understand the parameters of family judgements and why decisions are made. It is due to this experience that I can confidently dispense relevant advice in a variety of legal scenarios. There are myriad factors that distinguish your divorce from any other – your marriage was different, as will be your divorce. No one case I have dealt with has been the same as another. Listen to the expert handling your case.
A common issue in divorce is that many find it difficult to face the reality of the situation. A divorce splits one household into two, which often requires difficult arrangements. Despite this, it is vital to remain focused on the biggest issues and orient one’s strategy towards long-term objectives.
Be transparent and honest
It is imperative that your legal team understands all key facts prior to adopting its strategy. Serious complications may arise if your team is not made aware of relevant details, such as your finances. Honesty and openness are critical at the start of your matter so that a strategy can be adopted that anticipates and deals with any issues, rather than having to react and divert at a later stage.
Seek out necessary experts
You will require expert support to get you through your divorce. Support may come from accountants, financial advisors, surveyors or private investigators. Your solicitor can help guide you on who you need to call upon and when. Take their guidance.
Don’t take legal advice from friends
Do not solicit legal advice from friends and relatives (unless they are qualified family law experts). Whilst friends and relatives can be excellent sources of emotional support, they often mount up anxiety when they second guess your legal outcome. When in doubt, consult your solicitor.
Don’t beat yourself up
Remember that you are not alone. Divorce is not uncommon, and with the right emotional and legal support, the process can be made much smoother. Rather than beat yourself up, reward yourself every time you make a decision that is not what you necessarily wanted. It is important to compromise where possible and remain focused on your long-term objectives, as painful as this may be. Things will get better.
Divorce is never entirely pain-free, but with the right support and advice, we can help you manage the process.