FRIENDLY DIVORCE – WHY DO I NEED A SOLICITOR?
There are good reasons why separating couples are often reluctant to involve solicitors. Splitting up is expensive, isn’t using a solicitor just another unnecessary expense?
If you feel that you have made all the right decisions for your family, about the children and money, why would you want to risk lawyers interfering? Clients often think that their agreed settlement might get blown out of the water, once a solicitor is involved, and encourages the wife/husband to claim more.
But, with very few exceptions, you should consult a solicitor, even if you just take advantage of the free initial advice that many solicitors will offer. If you have that advice, of course you can choose whether you take it or leave it.
Solicitors who are members of Resolution sign up to a code of Practice which commits them to dealing with family matters in a constructive, conciliatory way wherever possible.
You can check out the ethos of Resolution members on their website at www.resolution.org.uk Check solicitors’ individual websites as well. Look out for additional qualifications, solicitors who are also Collaborative Lawyers will take a holistic approach and understand that it is not just about money, but the welfare of your whole family.
Without legal advice, some separating couples may make financial decisions without understanding that there may be a better alternative that they hadn’t even considered. Many will assume that some assets, such as pensions which aren’t going to be paid for another 20 years, have no value and are irrelevant, but this is not so.
Many do make decisions without fully understanding what might be possible.
Others make decisions/agreements because they feel powerless to do anything else, and an experienced solicitor would talk you through what you might do and the consequences without committing you to do anything you don’t want to. Remember that your solicitor can’t do anything except upon your instructions in any event.
Even if your agreement is the best thing for you, remember that without a Consent Order, in most cases it will not be safe. Without a Consent Order, either of you could change your mind. You may trust your ex not to change his/her mind, but circumstances do change and people change.
A written agreement between the two of you will not be safe. Finalising the divorce will not make a settlement safe.
Until and unless a Consent Order in the terms of your settlement going anywhere near it may be possible for your ex to make an application to Court with a settlement in completely different terms of your agreement many years, even indefinitely long after you are divorced and have moved on with your life.
In most cases applying for a consent order won’t involve going anywhere near a court and the cost will be modest. You will need a solicitor to apply for a Consent Order, and for most people the risks and potential costs of not taking legal advice are enormous.
For more information or free legal advice call Helen Jackson 01785 213234