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Fair divorce settlements: our top ten tips

Here at Stowe Family Law, every solicitors works hard to ensure that those clients enduring the turmoil of divorce and separation achieve the best possible outcome. Many such clients feel helpless, a victim of the circumstances in which they suddenly find themselves and part of our role as divorce lawyers is to offer clear guidance during a difficult time. But if you are struggling through a separation, try not to feel too despondent. A new chapter of your life is just around the corner and there is plenty you can do to help yourself.

Here our top ten tips for achieving the best results possible in your own case:

1/ Turn up to appointments on time and allow yourself time to make the most of them. Divorce solicitors often have busy schedules and may have to cut your appointment short if you are late. When this happens, the person who loses out is you.

2/ Be proactive. This isn’t the time or place to feel sorry for yourself and lose control. Obtain all the financial information requested by your family lawyer. Don’t leave anything out. Obtain details of houses where you might wish to live. Think about how much it is going to cost you and your spouse to run two homes. Make enquiries, prepare a budget and do everything you can to assist your lawyer in practical terms. It will reduce your bill.

3/ Speak! If you know what you want, give clear instructions. Don’t feel that you dare not speak, then leave consumed with anger and frustration. This is your case, so have your say.

4/ Don’t lose your sense of humour. This is easier said than done, but pleasant meetings are always more productive.

5/ Avoid alcohol. Don’t drink before an appointment. If you resort to Dutch courage, your solicitor will be able to tell. An addled mind can slow a case’s progress.

6/ Do not attend with an entourage in tow. Do you really need them there, or are they just getting in the way? You don’t need sympathy. You do need sensible legal advice.

7/ Don’t give instructions against your will or better judgement. For example, don’t tell your solicitor that your spouse can take the children on holiday, when in truth you do not want them to go. You may wish to appear reasonable but if you issue instructions only to change your mind at a later date, you make things more difficult for everyone.

8/ If you have a problem with your bills then you must say so. Solicitors and divorce costs go hand in hand. Your retainer letter will give details of how to deal with any concerns. Our advice is to discuss those concerns calmly.

9/ Be honest with your solicitor at all times. Don’t lie, don’t exaggerate and don’t waste everybody’s time. Lies will be exposed eventually, and could cost a fortune to put right. The most serious cases could also result in a criminal charge of perjury.

10/ If you are happy with the outcome, please feel free to say so! A “thank you” lights up everyone’s day.

Divorce & Splitting Up by Marilyn Stowe offers informed advice on all aspects of relationship breakdown, and is available on Amazon Kindle for just 99p.

The founder of Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known family law solicitors and divorce lawyers. She retired from Stowe Family Law in 2017.

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