RELATIONSHIP breakdown is often complex and can be emotionally-charged. Yet, it is also a time when you need to keep a clear head, gather a great deal of information, and make important decisions with far-reaching implications for the future.

On top of that, money is often tight. So, it’s imperative that you get the most out of your lawyer in the most efficient way. Failing to share information in a timely fashion, or not paying attention to suggestions made by your lawyer, could see your costs rise.

Instructing the right lawyer to deal with your case is a vital first step. You should carry out research and, if possible, instruct somebody who has been recommended to you. It is likely that you and your lawyer will be working together for many months, so confidence in each other is vital.

Being orderly when your life may have been turned upside down is not always easy, but you will find that it saves on legal costs and paves the way for a smoother separation, or divorce.

You should:

  • Ensure financial information is up-to-date and in order. Have all bank statements, tax returns and account details to hand;
  • Prepare a detailed chronology of the key dates and events of the relationship, particularly relating to finances;
  • Prepare for your meetings with your lawyer. Take a note of what you wish to discuss and ask for an agenda in advance;
  • At the end, ensure you understand the actions your lawyer will be taking and what is required of you. If necessary, ask for a note of the meeting;
  • Read all communications carefully and deal promptly with requests for information. If your lawyer needs to chase you, it is likely to increase costs;
  • Ensure you receive full and regular estimates of fees for each stage of your case;
  • Make sure no expert evidence is obtained on your behalf before you have agreed the costs.

Remember, listen to advice, be reasonable and remain open-minded.

The advice you are being given may not be what you want, but your lawyer must advise you against the benchmark of what a court is likely to order. However, hurtful the actions of a former partner might be, when it comes to negotiating arrangements for children or finances, a clear head and pragmatism are required.

For legal advice about divorce, call Margaret Simpson at Silk Family Law on 01748-902610 or visit https://www.silkfamilylaw.co.uk.

THIS LEGAL EXPERT COLUMN HAS BEEN PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE LAW SOCIETY.