Divorce – 10 top legal tips for insiders

Long Painful Divorce

  1. Am I choosing the right lawyer?

Are you comfortable discussing personal matters with your lawyer? Do you feel he will keep them confidential? There is no substitute for experience, so avoid younger lawyers. They may be cheaper and have better knowledge of social media involvement, but there is no substitute for experience.

  1. How can I reduce legal fees?

Never use a solicitor as your secretary. He can, and should, help you reduce costs. He can send you a chronology setting out the key dates of the marriage, and a case summary with the basic facts. He can guide you how to print out all relevant documents in a lever arch file in a date order (first date like a book) and you can copy it so that you each have a set.

This can save hundreds of pounds.

You will be feeling down and will want to have long conversations about the breakdown of your marriage. Keep that for your close friends. A good lawyer is friendly, but he is not your friend. He is your lawyer and can do more to help you than your friends can.

  1. What are your rights?

Of course you have rights either as a spouse and often from just when living together although “common law” wives do not exist in law. That is a legal myth.

Focus, however, on what you need. Work that out and see if your lawyer can help you get it. Write out your aims and tick them off as you succeed.

  1. How are matrimonial financial cases dealt with in practice?

The Judge first decides the amount of the matrimonial “pot” and assets pre-marriage can often escape the net, especially if the marriage is short. Then he decides how to divide the pot. The starting point (not the finishing point) is equality 50/50. Each case is different and Beatle Paul did not have to give Heather Mills half his fortune.

You then analyse what your needs are – house, income, earning power and compare the two equations. The wife gets the higher of the two. Is this a case for sharing or a needs case?

Often there is only enough money for one home so very often the absent parent who has left gets his share when the children leave college. This is called a “Mesher” Order which we can explain.

  1. Will my ex have to pay more if they broke up the marriage?

Almost certainly irrelevant. Who slept with whom. Who drank too much etc. The Judge is not interested. It is only if conduct is completely outrageous, and off the wall the Judge will take it into account e.g. paedophilia,s erious violence or hiding assets.

  1. First steps to protect myself?

Never leave the home, whatever the provocation, because you will not get back. Make notes of any information you can about your spouse’s affairs. Be alert for the following suspicious activities:

  1. First steps when divorce goes ahead

Get your marriage certificate to your lawyer and obtain a copy from the General Register Office if you cannot find it. Work on the chronology, case summary and lever arch file (see above) work out a plan and consult your lawyer early.

  1. The children

Children become collateral damage, and parents forget they are still parents. All the law books say that children and money do not mix. Do not believe it for a minute. Children are used as weapons every day to squeeze more money out of a spouse. Parent alienation syndrome is widespread. Keep calm and note everything in the chronology and keep all the relevant texts and emails. Do not get mad. Get even.

  1. How does it work?

A divorce should only take 14 weeks and be done by post. Be the Petitioner. It has advantages. Not even footballers and pop stars defend divorces. Within the divorce case, like a peg to hang your hat on, lawyers and Judges are there to help you if need them over disputes over money and children

  1. Legal costs

The matrimonial assets are your lifetime’s work assets. Do not let lawyers take a big chunk. This can be avoided with a fixed fee lawyer like Hylton-Potts.

Hylton-Potts Legal Team

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