Anna Hunter, Director at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists, Ponteland gives some major advice in this month’s Northern Insight as follows:

When should I see a solicitor?

It is never too soon to seek legal advice when you have concerns about your family situation; whether you are just contemplating separation or have already made a decision to divorce. If you are wondering whether you should consult a solicitor, then the answer is almost invariably yes. If you seek advice from an expert, then they will not be afraid to give you one-off advice or just discuss your options for the future, whatever your situation requires. There will no pressure to take steps you’re not ready to take or incur costs that aren’t necessary at this particular time.

Knowledge is power. Obtaining advice and information at an early stage may help you to make informed choices and to feel confident in making decisions about your future whether the issues relate to children, finances or both.

But I want to save time & money

Early advice can make it quicker for you to reach agreement with your spouse directly. It can help you have informal discussions with your spouse without allowing misunderstandings to arise. It will allow you to know the parameters that you need to work within and can save you time in determining whether the negotiations between you and your spouse or partner are fair and realistic.

Our clients often find making an early investment in our advice proves far more cost-effective than coming to see us at a later stage when differences or stumbling blocks have arisen which in turn reduces some of the stress which can naturally occur when dealing with a separation.

What if we’ve reached an agreement between us?

If you have managed to reach agreement between you, that is certainly a preferable route and will save a lot of heartache and expense. We still recommend that you seek expert advice on the terms of the agreement you have drawn up and we will assist you in formalising the agreement to make it legally enforceable. The court will need to approve any agreement that you wish to make binding so there are certain legal issues that will need to be considered.

I already have a solicitor but I’m not happy

If you have a solicitor already but you are unhappy with the advice you have been given, the way in which they are conducting your case, or if you feel you just don’t get on, then you should seek a second opinion. It’s important that you feel able to trust the person who is giving you advice.

Many people are unaware that they are perfectly entitled to seek advice from a second source or change solicitors once their case is under way. It is entirely possible to obtain a second opinion without your current solicitors needing to be informed. Then, ultimately, if you would like to change your new solicitor should be able to handle the transfer on your behalf without you even needing to speak with your current solicitors (subject to your account being paid up to date).

Doesn’t instructing a solicitor mean I’ll end up going to court?

One should not follow the other. Court should always be a last resort. At Major Family Law, our level of expertise makes us one of the leading family law practices in the North East. You can be confident that you are receiving top flight advice from a team with a record of over 80% of their cases being successfully resolved by way of negotiated settlement without ever needing to go to Court.

Enjoy total discretion in our relaxed and welcoming offices with both free parking and access at the rear of the building.

Whatever your concern, be assured that we will give it our full attention so that you can move forward confidently and in control of your own affairs.