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Separating – where to even start?

25 January 2021 Family Law Clair Cranston

Lockdown can be challenging for most of us, but even more so if you are stuck in a relationship with somebody you no longer want to be with and want to end your marriage or cohabiting relationship. It may feel that there is no way to escape a lockdown breakup but Macnabs can help you make a start and put the wheels in motion.

The decision to separate can be extremely difficult, particularly during these times of additional stress and regulations. Once that decision has been made, by one or both members of a couple, we at Macnabs are here to help and provide guidance to highlight your options both in relation to financial matters and issues around children. Despite the national lockdown and not being able to meet in person, our experienced team of family law solicitors are here to speak to you by telephone or video call.

Often the thought of instructing a solicitor can be extremely daunting, so we have put together some pointers as to what to expect from your initial appointment and what information can be helpful to obtain in advance.

  • Basic dates and information – many people in the middle of separation forget dates in the stress of it all. This is perfectly understandable. It’s really helpful to have a note of all of this for your appointment e.g..your date of marriage (or roughly when you commenced cohabiting with your partner), children’s dates of birth etc are important for us to be aware of.
  • Date of separation –knowing when you separated from your partner is important, in particular in relation to financial matters. Sometimes this can simply be when you sat down and had a discussion with him/her, however sometimes it is far more complex. We can discuss with you the legal consequences and definitions but it is helpful to have thought about this before your appointment.
  • Arrangements for children – there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to our children. We can discuss the options with you in depth and the best interests of the child are always paramount. It’s helpful if you can come to the appointment with details of both you and your partner’s working arrangements and accommodation so we can have a fully informed discussion. You may also wish to look at services provided by Relationships Scotland such as mediation so you are aware of what this is and have an initial idea of whether it might be appropriate for your situation.
  • Assets and debts – knowing what money you have or what debts need to be paid (especially ongoing ones) is really important. The more information you can bring to the appointment the better and our solicitors will then be able to fully assess your situation and what is relevant. Also having an idea of you and your partner’s income situation is helpful, both in relation to ongoing liabilities and child maintenance if that is going to be relevant to your situation.

At Macnabs we provide an initial fixed fee appointment, and can talk you through potential future costs and how these can be structured. The breakdown of a marriage and the process of separating is an emotionally difficult and uncertain time, and that is something we cannot change, however what we can to do help is to get to the heart of the matter and deliver practical, down-to-earth legal advice, focused on achieving a solution that suits your needs.

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