They say that there are two certainties in life – Death and Taxes. I’d like to add a third; each January the media will label the first working Monday of the New Year as “Divorce Day” suggesting that on that date there’s a lemming like rush of new clients to family solicitors across the country.
Not only is this simply untrue but, having been a specialist family lawyer for 28 years I think it paints a wholly misleading picture of the amount of thought and consideration that people take before they make the enormous life decision to end their marriage. They don’t instruct family lawyers unless they’re clear about what they want to do and why they want to do it. They may well, during the period of consideration seek some initial guidance on what might happen so that they can make an informed decision about what they’re going to do but the decision to proceed is always made by the client, never by the lawyer.
So where does the “Divorce Day” myth come from? There’s no doubt that the Christmas break brings stresses and strains. Sometimes it’s the first opportunity for a while for couples to spend a period of uninterrupted time together and if a relationship is under tension that may exacerbate the problems. The New Year too is seen as a time for re-evaluation of your life, assessing where you’re going and considering whether it’s where you want to be.
And it’s true that this time of the year may be a point where many people look at the situation they’re in and decide whether it’s a situation they want to continue. Ironically, the same applies to early September as people come to the end of the long summer holidays and prepare for the new school year. New term, new pencil case, new life?
Re-evaluation however is a very long way indeed from making hasty decisions that will affect the rest of your life both financially and emotionally. And there’s a massive difference between taking preliminary advice that will help you make an informed decision and rushing into something you may later regret.
You may take advice and decide to do nothing. You may take advice and think about it for weeks, months or even years. You may decide to start proceedings and then change your mind. We’re always delighted to be told we’re no longer needed because our involvement has brought a “wake up call” and the focus is now on reconciliation.
The family team at Stokes Partners have over 100 years specialist experience between them. If you’re wondering where your life is going and think that divorce or separation may be on the cards we can give you guidance as to what may be the most likely outcome for you based on our expertise and experience. We can’t give you guarantees or tell you exactly what will happen – no two cases are the same just as no two families are the same. What we can do however is cut through the vast amounts of myth surrounding family law (sadly “Divorce Day is just the tip of the iceberg”). We can set out your options for you. Give you advice on steps you can take to protect your position (and flag up steps that you shouldn’t take). Ensure that you have a realistic picture of the likely costs of any action you choose to pursue. We know that when relationships end people are trying to make “head” decisions at a time when they are thinking only with their hearts.
And we’re here to help any time of the year, not just in January. So if you need specialist, pragmatic legal advice on a family law related issue, come and talk to us at Stokes Partners. You’ll find us friendly, empathetic and realistic. We can’t promise to tell you what you want to hear, but we will always tell you what you need to know.