News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Richard Bebb, a partner in the Gough’s Solicitor’s family team, offers advice for partners looking to separate

The festive season is behind us for another year. What will 2019 bring? If you’re considering separating from your partner, it could be a very significant year for you. It’s very important that you have the support and advice you need to help you through such a challenging time.

January can be a busy time for family lawyers. Some of their new clients intended to address failing marriages sooner, but decided to wait so as not to spoil Christmas. Others found that extra time spent with their spouse during the break confirmed how unhappy they were.

We have a great deal of experience in helping anyone caught up in this scenario – whether you’re the person looking to move things forward, or have been faced with something you really didn’t expect. In either case, here are some constructive suggestions from us to help get your New Year off to a positive start:

Consider couples counselling, it might be possible to save the marriage or improve communications.

Choose your lawyer carefully. A recommendation from a trusted friend, relative or colleague is worth a great deal.

Make sure your lawyer is a member of the organisation with the perfect name for January: Resolution. All members of this nationwide group subscribe to a Code of Practice which commits them to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational, constructive way designed to preserve people’s dignity and to encourage agreements.

Consider a collaborative divorce. A growing number of family lawyers (including three at Goughs) are trained specialists in this process, which commits to resolving disputes respectfully, for the benefit of the whole family, without involving the court.

Listen to your lawyer’s advice. You are investing in his or her expertise, after all. An experienced family lawyer will always give realistic guidance. Remember that personal issues which are incredibly important to you may not carry much, or any, weight in divorce.

Be honest with your lawyer and your spouse about money. Don’t try to hide assets, or understate the value of what you have. Doing this is likely to delay progress, cost more in legal fees, and could lead to a carefully structured settlement collapsing when the truth comes to light.

Don’t involve the children. Hopefully they will enjoy a happy relationship with both parents if they’re not pushed into taking sides after a split.

Be patient. Divorce takes time – often you will be waiting for your spouse to respond to communication, or for the court to deal with a procedure. It can sometimes seem interminable, but you’ll get there.

And finally – be positive. There is life after divorce. You will benefit from the support of your family and friends, and there are many excellent therapists and support groups available. And at Goughs we take a pride in getting to know our clients and guiding them through the legal maze.

To find out more please contact a member of our Family team today who will be happy to help, or you can arrange your free initial consultation online today. 01225 703036