Thinking about divorce? Our family lawyer offers advice

Are you thinking of seeing a divorce lawyer? Lawyer Maureen Mullally offers top tips on how to deal with this difficult situation.
If you have made up your mind to go through with divorce - here are a few points to bear in mind;
1.            Divorce is never an easy process
2.            Expect to experience grief, anger, bitterness, a desire to be avenged for your hurt or a combination of some or all of these emotions.
3.            Be aware that family members and friends will be inclined to take sides
If you have children:
1.            Keep them informed
2.            Give them an age-appropriate explanation of what is happening, preferably together
3.            They love you both - assure them that you both go on loving them AND that they will go on seeing both of you
4.            Avoid getting them to ‘take sides’
5.            On no account use a child as a weapon against the other parent - by refusing contact or making it difficult, for example
6.            Never argue or make hurtful remarks in front of the children
-The more aspects you can agree about, the less the financial and emotional cost
-Children - Who will they live with? - this is no longer called ‘custody’ but ‘residence’
- How often will they see the non-resident parent?   Known as ‘Contact’, no longer ‘access’
- It will reassure your child if you go on making decisions together as parents.
Property and Finance - If you can agree about these aspects of the divorce it will save you a great deal of money.   Think about consulting a professional family mediator. He/she will not take sides, be judgmental or tell you what to do, but will help you to explore possible options.You will each need a solicitor’s advice on any agreement reached.
Family mediators can also assist with options regarding residence and contact.
Court battles should be avoided at all costs.However, if you have to go to court you may have to represent yourself.    State funding [legal aid] is hard to obtain and lawyers exceedingly expensive.   Be sure to prepare carefully, assembling copies of all documents in three identically paginated bundles, one for the judge, one for the other side and one for yourself.

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