Divorce - List of Things to do
One – Collate the documentation your lawyer will need to see
There are several documents your solicitor will need to see to advise you on your divorce. Prior to accepting your instruction, they will need to view and take a copy of your identification, so make sure you can present a passport, driver’s licence or EU national identity card and a copy of something which proves your address, such as a utility bill. If you are the victim of domestic abuse, especially financial abuse, the latter may be difficult for you to obtain, so make sure you let your solicitor know this when you meet them. These initial identification checks are to protect against money-laundering, and law firms are required to comply with these checks by law.
Your family law solicitor will also need to see the following:
- your marriage or civil partnership certificate
- any pre or post-nuptial agreements between you and your spouse
- details of your employment and earnings
- the names, dates of birth, and schooling details of all your children
- the estimated values of all the properties you own
- the mortgages/loans on your properties
- details of any shares, pensions, and/or savings
- details of any debt you have
Having all this organised and presenting it to your solicitor at your first meeting will allow him or her to obtain a clear view of your situation and advise you accordingly.
Two – Work out what you want in terms of a financial settlement and arrangements for your children
The two most important aspects of a divorce are the financial settlement and arrangements for children. Before you meet with your divorce solicitor, you need to get clear in your mind what it is you want to achieve in both these areas. For example, if you brought significant assets into the marriage, it may be important to you that these do not form part of the financial settlement. Alternatively, if you have stepped down from your career to look after your children, thereby reducing your future earning potential, it may be crucial you receive some form of spousal maintenance for a period.
When it comes to arrangements for your children, depending on their age and maturity, they will want to have a say in who they live with and when. If you and your spouse have decided that divorce is the only way forward, it is important to discuss living arrangements with your children or work it out between yourselves as a judge will want to see evidence of any arrangements made for your children before granting your divorce.
Three – take the time to find the right divorce solicitor for you
Your divorce lawyer is someone who will advise, represent, and support you throughout one of the most stressful periods of your life. Therefore, they must be someone you feel comfortable with and who you feel is on your side.
Ask your family and friends for recommendations. Also, look for accreditations and memberships to family law societies. Our solicitors belong to Resolution, a group of 6,500 family law solicitors who are committed to resolving family law disputes in a non-confrontational way. Every member of Resolution must undertake ongoing training and follow a strict Code of Practice.
Couples going through divorce experience a plethora of emotions and this can cloud good judgment and decision-making. By taking the time to prepare before going to a divorce solicitor, you will feel more positive and in control. In addition, your preparation work is likely to have resulted in several questions for your solicitor; writing these down will help you gain a full understanding of the options before you.
Divorce is never easy, but with planning and support, much of the stress and anxiety that comes with such a major life event can be avoided.
Please note, this article does not constitute legal advice.
Guillaumes LLP Solicitors is a full-service law firm based in Weybridge, Surrey. We have a highly experienced family law team who can assist you with all matters relating to divorce. To make an appointment, please call us on 01932 840 111.