Your first move 

In the event of a relationship breakdown, it’s important to seek professional help from a specialist law firm. Here Lucy Mead, head of family at David Gray, provides advice for that first meeting with a solicitor

A relationship breakdown is one of the most stressful life events you can go through. The emotional impact can be significant and often there are financial issues or issues concerning children to resolve. While taking legal advice may not seem like the most urgent thing to do, it can be hugely beneficial to make contact with a specialist family lawyer at an early stage.

Choosing a lawyer can be confusing. Therefore, it’s important to look for recommendations and consider reviews, as well as research independent industry publications, such as Chambers & Partners and the Legal 500. At David Gray Solicitors, we have an award-winning team of 14 specialist accredited family solicitors, including two higher rights advocates.

We cover all aspects of family law, including divorce and the dissolution of civil partnerships, financial issues, following the breakdown of cohabitation, domestic abuse cases, disputes over children and cases involving social services. We offer the full range of family law services, from mediation to collaborative law, to representation in litigation and arbitration, so you can ensure that you are placed with a solicitor who best meets your needs. We also offer clear pricing information, so you can be sure about your costs going forward.

At David Gray, we will only ever do as much work as you want us to do. We can see you for a one-off appointment at the beginning, for a few appointments to help with drafting an

agreement, or we can represent you at every stage of the case, whether in court, or away from the court. We can also provide mediation and have in-house arbitrators in financial and children matters.

To make the most of your first appointment, my advice is to consider the different options available to you. Court is not the only option. At David Gray, we take the view that while sometimes necessary, litigation in court should be the last resort. We can fight your corner in court, but if an amicable solution is possible, we will help you through that process. Look at the Resolution website (www.resolution.org.uk) and consider your options.

Think about the issues that need to be resolved. Are there issues surrounding financial matters and arrangements for children, or are you and your partner/spouse able to agree on some of the issues between yourselves?

Pull together some basic financial information. If financial issues need resolving, bring basic details about you and your spouse/partner’s income, assets, liabilities and outgoings. This will mean more progress can be made at the first meeting.

Bring a friend or family member. They will be able to support you through the meeting. It’s also good to make a list of questions you want to ask beforehand.

Remember that you are giving your solicitor instructions, so you need to feel comfortable with any course of action agreed on. A solicitor is there to advise on the legal position and obtain advice on what a court might decide should matters go that way. However, it is for you to decide the course of action. You don’t have to follow our advice and if you want to take a different course of action, we will respect those instructions.

David Gray Solicitors LLP
David Gray has offices in Newcastle and South Shields. To ascertain the type of advice you need from David Gray  Solicitors, contact customer relationship manager Louise Law on 0191 232 9547
lawyers@davidgray.co.uk
www.davidgray.co.uk
@DavidGrayLLP

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