Legal Eagle Column: Common divorce pitfalls

Beth Woodward, Divorce and Family Law Partner, talks about how to avoid common problems people run into when trying to separate smoothly.

Where a marriage has broken down, there is usually at least one party feeling angry, sad, disappointed, or a mixture of all.

It is very easy for a separation to become a forum for airing those feelings and for parties to lose sight of what matters.

Here is a list of 5 pitfalls and the best ways to avoid them:

1. Not using a lawyer

Sometimes clients approach us way down the line of divorce because they were told by their spouse, family or friends that they didn’t really need a solicitor.

Most people find they have to instruct a solicitor when the case has already been running and positions are entrenched. This could have been avoided: leaving it too long often ends up costing more than if you had instructed a solicitor at the start.

2. Using the wrong lawyer

Using an unreasonable lawyer will make the entire process so much harder. Argumentative and ruthless does not equal effective. Using a difficult lawyer will be costly and cause relationships to break down further.

At Neves we recognise that different situations need different handling; there may be times when we will be more forceful and times when battles are picked to achieve a better result in the long run. After all, you and your spouse may have to have an ongoing relationship if you are co-parenting.

3. Listening to your ex-spouse’s advice

Your spouse may have been your confidante. Whilst it is great that you can remain on friendly terms, you have to recognise that your spouse may not have your best interests at heart any more.

Your best interests will be in direct contrast to theirs, and so you should not be led by their advice.

4. Listening to bad advice from other people

You have to be careful who you listen to. Your friends and family may well know someone who has recently divorced and have your best interests at heart, but their advice is no substitute for expert legal advice which is accurate, up-to-date and tailored to your situation.

5. Using children as pawns

Children are inevitably affected by parental separation but the impact on them can be minimised. Sometimes, spouses try to limit contact to “punish” the other parent, or they will refuse to allow that parent to see the children unless a financial contribution or concession is made. Use a solicitor to fix these issues, not the children.

Call Beth on 01908 304560 or email family@nevesllp.co.uk if you need help with your divorce or separation

This feature was published in the February 2020 issue of Celebrate:MK lifestyle magazine. Read the full magazine above or by clicking on this link.

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