Do You Really Need a Solicitor to Handle your Divorce?

16 January 2024

Divorce advice from Emmersons Solicitors, who have offices in Sunderland and Newcastle.

Jacqueline Emmerson who has over thirty years of experience helping divorce clients thinks so.

“I am a solicitor so of course you would expect me to say yes. In many instances I assist clients to manage their own cases.

“Divorce is different, the stakes are high if you get it wrong. It’s not so much the issuing of the divorce petition itself. I’m more concerned about the Financial Settlement that follows on from divorce. Or the financial agreement a couple may make between themselves when they have not obtained a divorce.”

Here Jacqueline provides some examples;

“A client was leaving the Air Force after 22 years of service. He was entitled to his long service bonus and his wife had hung on long enough in order to obtain her share. My client was distraught that his marriage had come to an end. He agreed to give his wife more than half of the settlement and in return she would let him remain living in the matrimonial home. In the meantime, his wife went to live with her new partner.

“Some months later he came to see me. His wife had now been to see a solicitor, she wished to obtain a full settlement. She sought the house, as she had taken the children to live with her, two thirds of my client’s pension, and maintenance for the children. She had spent the lump sum that he had given her. The poor man was beside himself, as far as he was concerned, they had reached a final deal.

“Another client came to see me five years after he and his wife had separated. They had cobbled together a Consent Order, on the face of it, it seemed like a fair deal. However, part of the agreement was that he would transfer the matrimonial home to his wife. In return she would transfer their jointly held savings policies to him. He stuck to his side of the bargain, but his wife did not.

“The situation was even worse. He had agreed to pay maintenance to his wife for the rest of his life! Yet they were only in their forties when they divorced. During the next five years my client was unemployed for nearly three years. He continued to pay maintenance to his ex-wife and yet she was on a very good salary.

“I advised him to stop the maintenance payments and made an application to the court to vary the terms of the DIY Consent Order. I also arranged for the savings polices to be transferred over to my client, thus allowing him to purchase a home for himself instead of renting as he had been doing.

“Financial Settlements upon divorce are not simple. Separating couples will often reach a deal themselves, wishing to keep things amicable or they don’t wish to spend money on legal advice. There is a reason we are called Divorce Specialists, years of assisting clients is how we learn where things can go wrong in the future. Thus, we can help our clients to plan ahead.”

So how can you obtain the best of both worlds? How can you save money and use a solicitor?

“They key is preparation. Gather together all of your financial information, look on the HMCTS website for Form E. This contains all of the information that both parties’ solicitors will require in order to provide you and your spouse with comprehensive advice. It can take a while to obtain all of the information but the more prepared you are the cheaper the process will be.

“My job is to support you through the process. I am not involved in the emotional side of things. I take a forensic approach, considering financial documents, where can savings be made, how are you each going to afford new accommodation, what should happen to your pensions, your savings, investment properties or any business that you or your spouse run.

“I am here to help you look to the future. Guilt at the breakdown of your marriage is no position from which to negotiate a settlement which will affect the rest of your life. 

“Clients advise me that their spouse has said that this is all they will get so just accept what is on offer. They are being bullied into accepting an unsuitable deal, I have seen and heard it all!

“I offer Fixed Fee Next Steps in Divorce advice sessions. You will leave my office armed with advice and a plan of action. That in itself is worth every penny, it can be the difference between you living your later years in poverty or being comfortably off.

“If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact me on 0191 2846989 or [email protected]