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Solicitor offers top tips ahead of ‘D day’

With Christmas and New Year getting ever nearer, solicitors around the region will be preparing themselves for the influx of calls they will receive regarding divorce.

Known as ‘D day’, this is first day legal offices open after the festive break and it is traditionally the busiest day of the year for divorce enquiries. This year is will fall on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Everys Solicitors partner Zoe Porter is getting ready for her 14th D day in her career.

She said: “The post-Christmas and New Year period is the time when many marriages reach their final breaking point. The reason why unhappy couples call solicitors on D day can be as trivial as a poor Christmas gift or another year spent with the in-laws. Usually there are more serious underlying issues and they just tried to get through Christmas for the sake of the rest of the family.”

Mrs Porter is an expert in financial remedy in cases involving divorce, pensions and business. She also acts for unmarried co-habiting couples and same sex couples.

She added: “Solicitors really do not relish the thought of couples breaking up and seeking divorce, but D day is an unavoidable notable date in our diaries when we know we will get an influx of calls. Wherever possible, we try to make the process as painless as possible while offering empathetic but sensible support to bring marriages and relationships to a close.”

Ahead of D day Mrs Porter has drawn up a list of 10 top tips for a happy divorce:

1.    Instruct a good lawyer. If things go wrong, this is the person who needs to fight your corner. Take your time and choose carefully, even if that means seeing several solicitors before you find the right one. Remember, you do not need to like your lawyer. The best ones will sometimes give you advice that you do not care much for. You do, however, need to trust them and be confident as to their expertise.

2.    Instruct your solicitor at an early stage. There is no harm in meeting with a lawyer before you make any final decisions regarding your marriage in order to help understand the implications of separating and to prepare yourself for the journey ahead. Forewarned is forearmed.

3.    Try to keep the avenues of communication open with your spouse. As difficult as this can be, the process will be much smoother if you are able to liaise with each other.

4.    Tell your children what is happening together and in private. No matter how you feel towards each other, you will need to put on a united front and reassure them that your reasons for separating have nothing to do with them.

5.    Try not to argue, especially in front of children. Walk away and take the moral high ground. There is nothing to be gained by shouting at one another.

6.    Listen to your lawyer. Even if it is advice that you do not want to hear, your solicitor knows the law and how it applies to your case. Remember that each case turns on its own facts; the settlement that your friend received may not be suitable in your circumstances.

7.    Do not be influenced by friends and family. Emotions will already be running high so try not to be fuelled by the upset and anger of others. It is your life and legal bill, not theirs!

8.    Refrain from posting negative comments on social media. Tempting as it is to “name and shame, it achieves nothing except a talk point for gossips and the opportunity for retaliation.

9.    Do not try and hide assets. It really does not work and sudden “sales at an under-value” to a family member or friend can be undone by a Court if it considers that the transaction has taken place deliberately to reduce the matrimonial pot. Not to mention of course, the embarrassment and costs orders of being “found out”.

10.    Keep moving forward…. Embarking on a separation/divorce is stressful. There will be upset, uncertainty and anger but there is light at the end of the tunnel with a fresh start ahead. Focus on this rather than dwelling on what has happened. It really does help.

Everys has offices in Exeter, Taunton, Exmouth, Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Ottery St Mary, Seaton, Honiton and London.

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