Couples have good reason to be sceptical about the divorce process. Often portrayed as long, difficult, acrimonious and expensive, divorce has acquired a fearsome reputation in recent decades. In England and Wales, changes introduced by the government have simplified the process to a certain extent, reducing both cost and time. But divorce can still be a life-defining ordeal for many people, which is why seeking professional help from a divorce lawyer is essential.
Divorce lawyers specialise in providing professional legal counsel for people whose marriages have fallen apart, but often help is provided at a much earlier stage. Legal advice can be sought before a decision to divorce has been taken, if only to consider all options when a marriage encounters difficulties. Apart from discussing the possible consequences of divorce, many solicitors in England and Wales provide counselling and mediation services, which in rare cases help couples reconcile, but which are intended to pave the way for a less troubled separation. Conciliation is an important pre-divorce measure and solicitors can be a surprising source of comfort and compassion during this difficult period.
The Divorce Process
Divorce solicitors may be useful for obtaining general advice and guidance before proceedings are actually instigated, but their assistance can be invaluable when a petition for divorce has been accepted by a court.
Some of the government-inspired changes that have altered the framework of divorce in England and Wales require that the decree nisi, a legal document provided by the court that acts as permission to divorce, is not contested by either party. Uncontested, no-fault divorces can be completed in a little over six months, but problems arise when couples disagree over aspects of their divorce. When disagreement enters proceedings, or if any aspect of a divorce is likely to be contested, both parties ought to seek professional legal advice as a matter of urgency.
Divorce lawyers outline the steps that individuals must follow to complete, or indeed contest, a divorce. Solicitors are instrumental in challenging applications or decisions that disadvantage their clients. Many divorces are drawn out because legal teams continually appeal to the court over important issues such as the custody of children, temporary living arrangements and interim maintenance awards. The back-and-forth nature of divorce proceedings is unavoidable in some cases and solicitors often work long hours to negotiate compromises and settlements with the opposing side; in fact, this is arguably the main benefit of hiring a specialist divorce solicitor.
Lawyers work exceptionally hard to ensure that their clients get what they want. Obviously success is not always a possibility, but solicitors help clients through the divorce process by fighting on their behalf. Divorce lawyers are especially useful when one side needs to secure temporary possession of the family home, or requires interim financial relief. Without solicitors, clients would be required to represent themselves before the family court.
Hayley Goodson writes about family and divorce for several online publications. A firm believer in following the traditional procedure for divorce, as opposed to online divorces, which she admits can be more convenient for some couples, Hayley recommends the services of Hylton-Potts Divorce Lawyers and other specialist family law firms.