1. Knowledge is power
Divorce can be complicated. Take advice at the earliest opportunity so you know where you stand. Hine Solicitors offers a fixed-fee first meeting where you will meet the solicitor dealing with your matter. All of our family lawyers at Hine Solicitors are members of Resolution. Resolution lawyers deal with divorces on a non-confrontational basis and aim to reduce the long-term effects of divorce. Visit the Resolution website to find a Resolution lawyer: http://www.resolution.org.uk/findamember/
2. Write down your questions before you see a solicitor
You are likely to have loads of questions running through your mind, some of which can arise in the middle of the night. Keep a note pad on your bed-side table for those moments. Writing a list of questions will help you to order your thoughts and to feel more at ease. Take a note of the advice you receive during the meeting or ask your solicitor to send you a letter of advice afterwards. At Hine Solicitors, we always follow up our initial meeting with a letter of advice free of charge.
3. Bring a friend with you
Seeing a solicitor for what may be the first time can be daunting and you may feel more supported if you have a friend by your side. Go over what was said with your friend after the meeting; it will help your mind to process and digest the information and assist you in making decisions later on.
4. Get organised
Order some stationary including a large file. There will be a lot of correspondence during the course of the divorce, so being organised from the very beginning will help you feel more in control. It will be easier to locate important documents when they are stored in an orderly way.
5. See a professional coach or counsellor
Whilst it is not unusual for you to make a tearful call to your solicitor, it is well worth seeking advice from a professional coach or counsellor. Speaking to a professional coach is not a sign of weakness, I believe it is a sign of strength. During a divorce, you are going through one of the most difficult periods of your life. You should allow yourself the opportunity for a professional coach to help you through it. You can also save yourself money in the long-run because sometimes people are tempted use their solicitor as a counsellor but, importantly, solicitors are rarely dual-qualified as counsellors.
6. Focus on the children
If you have children, continue to make them your number one priority. Remember that whatever has happened during your marriage, your ex-spouse will always be your children’s parent. Divorce can have a long-lasting effect on children. Reassure your children and tell them it is not their fault and you both love them. Listen to them and tell them what is happening jointly with your ex-spouse – it is important for your children’s stability that you and your ex-spouse are a united front on all matters that concern them. Explain that each parent will remain a huge part of their lives.
7. Find a way to relax
Everyone needs to find time to relax every day. Reading a book, yoga, meditation, and listening to music can all help you feel more relaxed. It is widely believed that stress can prevent us from retaining information and making decisions. The prefrontal cortex part of our brain is vital for our working memory. Stress, which is common when divorcing, modifies prefrontal cortex activity. Therefore, reducing stress can help you retain the advice your solicitor gives to you and make important decisions more easily.
8. Be realistic
It is difficult to take an objective view of your own matters, and that is what you hire a solicitor for. Focus your negotiations on solutions that work for the whole family. Remember that if the advice you receive is to compromise, compromising is not a sign of weakness. You should consider the cost-benefit of continued negotiations and the overall fairness of the proposed agreement.
Kate Jones is a solicitor in the Oxford office at Hine Solicitors and she can be contacted on 01865 514348 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.