Legal issues with divorce
The forms will say that you have just 7 days to reply to the petition by returning the acknowledgement of service form. But nothing will happen after 7 days if you don’t, so don’t rush off to the first solicitor you can find.
If you don’t return the form, sooner or later you will have the petition given to you personally by a court bailiff or process server.
This is no big deal, except that you’ll have to pay the fees for it. If you don’t want that expense, make sure your form is returned to the court within two to three weeks if you think your spouse is going to be in a hurry to push things through. If they have a solicitor, you could ring, or write to them, and say you need time to take some advice and you will return the form in x weeks – you decide, take control!
That gives you time to recover from the shock of the petition and, if you do need someone to fill in this form for you, to research the best solicitor. The form itself is simple but, depending on what’s in the petition, you may want to take some advice before completing and returning it.
If you give me a call I can give you the information you need to decide whether you need legal advice and, if not, help you to complete the form yourself. That will cost you infinitely less than getting a solicitor to fill it in for you, send it to the court and put themselves on the court record. Be aware that once the solicitor is on the court record, the court will send all future documentation to them rather than to you – and you will be paying them handsomely to forward it to you.
You may need to decide quickly whether you will be represented in court and, if so, whether you need a solicitor or a barrister.
If you can’t afford legal representation, would a McKenzie Friend be a support to you? If so, can you afford a professional one, or would a friend or relative be enough? This may be an option, provided that the other parent wouldn’t object to them being in court with you.
Do give me a call: I can talk through your options with you so that you have all the information you need to make a decision.
It’s never easy, but the better prepared you are, the better your outcome is likely to be. You need to be clear and focused on what you want (or will accept), from the hearing.
The better informed you are of court procedure and what to expect in the court room the more confident you will feel.
It’s usually best to take someone with you to a court hearing (even though they will not be able to go into the court room with you). This is because you may have to wait around a long time and your solicitor or barrister will spend a lot of the time talking to your ex’s lawyer. You don’t want to be sitting alone, facing your ex across the waiting room, and it really helps to have someone with you to talk through any proposals with – particularly at a final hearing.
I can help you prepare for your hearing so that, even if you’re nervous, you’ll still be able to stay focused on your outcome.
The first step towards working out who gets what of your financial assets is to establish exactly what you’ve both got.
If you go to a solicitor, they’ll need a Form E from each of you. Don’t waste money going before you’ve done these and can take both forms with you – including your pension valuation(s).
Mediation may well be your best route at this stage, and different mediators will have different financial forms they will want you to complete first. So make a plan. Decide what you want to achieve, and identify your best route for getting there.
I can give you more information and help you make your plan, just send an email or give me a call.
This creates problems when people can’t afford to go back to their solicitor, or where one party can and the other can’t.
Don’t be panicked into rushing off to get legal advice. Take your time and work out whether it really is a legal issue.
Occasionally, financial orders don’t work out as expected, or something changes which was not anticipated, eg the loss of a job.
If a court order hasn’t been carried out, and you need it to be, you may have to go back to your solicitor.
But if a job’s been lost, your solicitor can’t get it back. Do your best to work things out with your ex as you’re not in a position to pay more fees. If you do need help, mediation will be a cheaper option than a solicitor.
Mostly it is issues relating to children which can rumble on for many years. These arrangements can always be changed, even if you have a court order (you may need to apply to vary it).
Please give me a call: it is so important to make things work as well as possible for children. If you can email some brief details first it will help us make the most of your free 20 minute call.
“Diana helped me enormously in dealing with a very sensitive and serious legal situation brought upon me by my troubled ex-partner.Her sensitive understanding underpinned by sound legal knowledge was indispensable throughout a difficult time. I could not have faced it as well as I did without her – I came out of it all feeling a great sense of peace, and that is quite something.”
Ms RB, London
To arrange a free, confidential, 20 minute chat about how I might be able to help you, please email me or call 01932 843434