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Seeing a divorce lawyer for the first time can feel like a daunting and overwhelming experience, especially when you are likely to be feeling stressed and emotional, and it can be difficult to know what you should say. Everybody’s case is different, but below are some of the questions that you may want to ask your divorce lawyer at your first meeting.
Do I need a solicitor?
We would always advise that you see a solicitor as soon as possible, to discuss your options. All of our solicitors are members of Resolution and are committed to helping you through your divorce in a non-confrontational manner.
Can I change the locks?
Legally, there is nothing preventing you from changing the locks to your house, whether jointly owned or not. However, you could be in trouble should you exclude your spouse from the property as they are allowed to occupy by joint ownership or marriage.
Who pays the bills?
Sorting out your outgoings should be an immediate priority on separation. There are no hard and fast rules regarding the payment of your mortgage and bills and legal advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity. If your spouse has left the home, you should contact your utility providers to inform them and also arrange the single person discount for your council tax.
What do I do about our bank accounts?
Generally speaking, separating couples should make arrangements to close joint accounts and move direct debits in the process, unless this is problematic. This is to limit the potential for one spouse to use joint monies without consent.
How do I get child maintenance?
Couples can make their own unique arrangements for the payment of child maintenance. However, if this is difficult, the Child Maintenance Service can be used and they can deduct maintenance at source if necessary.
How long will it take to get divorced?
The divorce procedure itself is usually straightforward and it can take around 3-5 months to obtain your final divorce (Decree Absolute). However, if there are associated financial matters to resolve, the process can take a lot longer, depending on whether one party issues financial remedy court proceedings.
Do I have to pay the costs of the divorce?
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to make a claim that your spouse pays your divorce costs and this can be stated within your divorce petition at the outset. Most couples will reach an amicable agreement on this point in any event.
Do I have to provide my financial disclosure?
When you are going through a divorce, there is an ongoing duty of financial disclosure. That means that you may have to provide your bank statements, wage slips and a valuation of your home, for example.