Getting a divorce is an exhausting and emotionally-fuelled ordeal for anyone. It is hard not to make things personal because after all, you have shared a portion of your life with your ex. It is human to feel anger and harbour resentment, but for the sake of moving on with your life, it is essential to try to resolve your divorce as amicably as you possibly can, for your sanity, your bank account, and most important of all, your beloved children.
The qualities of a good divorce solicitor and how to find one
Any good lawyer should aspire to a code of ethics that outlines the importance of settling a divorce quickly, and with minimal confrontation. If you have children, each decision you make should be favourable to them and their needs, and not for your ego.
Google lawyers in your area to find divorce specialists and check out their online ratings. If your search does not come to fruition, contact the local bar. Legal bar associations will have records of qualified lawyers, and conversely, complaints about those from whom you should stay away.
Another way of finding a lawyer who will adequately represent you is to scour lawyer’s websites looking for information about individual solicitors regarding their educational background, work history and years of practice. As passionate as a freshly graduated solicitor might be, he or she lacks the necessary experience in high-stress divorce proceedings.
If you would prefer finding someone using traditional methods, ask friends for referrals. The most unbiased referrals come from the people who you know on a personal level.
What about the children?
Divorce can be complicated if you have had children together. There is a lot to talk about and settle; the primary decisions that need to be made involve custody and living arrangements.
Where will the children live and with whom? Remember that the two of you are the ones divorcing, not your offspring, try to ensure that their lives remain as unchanged as possible despite their parents’ decoupling.
Try to make decisions that prevent them from having to move around or change schools. Often, the law dictates that the parent who can provide them with the most ‘hands-on’ care will be granted custody. As the primary caregiver, do not keep your children away from the non-custodial parent out of spite, ensure they see the other parent over weekends and holidays. At the same time, a non-custodial parent must pay for child support for school fees and the like – failing to provide monetarily because you dislike your estranged spouse only hurts the children.
The second most contentious issue after children in matters of divorce is money. Who gets what and how much? What about the house you own together?
When discussing money matters, divulge all to your ex-partner and your solicitor. If it is found out that you are concealing funds, there is a high chance you will lose it all to your spouse.
If, up until now you have been financially dependent on or weaker than your spouse, you are entitled to a monthly stipend, conditioned on your proven monthly needs, in what is known as ‘maintenance’. Your lawyer will help you to settle on a sum that covers your living expenses.
Divorce does not have to turn messy and complicated with the right hands at your side. Seek out the advice of a divorce solicitor today.