Thinking of separating? Seven reasons why getting legal advice early on is vital

Family law specialists from Browell Smith & Co look at why it’s important to seek professional advice as early as possible when considering a separation.

The commonly-held myth is that January is ‘peak season’ for divorces due to relationship breakdowns over the Christmas period.

Although there is some truth in the myth, the reality is that people have often been considering a separation or divorce for some time before Christmas but have decided to wait until after the festive period to begin the process. This could be for the sake of keeping the peace, or to give any children of the family a fun festive season before the inevitable difficulties of a separation.

While there is nothing wrong with this approach – we understand how emotive a time of year Christmas can be – we would always advise seeking professional advice as soon as possible as part of the separation process.

Approaching a solicitor may seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Here’s why:

It can help clarify your decision

Speaking to a solicitor can help to clarify your thoughts and put things into perspective. If a full divorce or separation isn’t what you want, we can point you in the right direction to get your relationship the help it may need.

It can make the process more amicable

Going to a solicitor might seem like a very ‘final’ move, but it should be considered the opposite: a chance to talk over all your concerns with somebody who really understands the entire process. A strong network of friends is vital, and you should use them for support wherever you can, but unless they are qualified family solicitors, they cannot necessarily give you the calm, practical guidance and legal advice you need.

Once you have spoken to a solicitor, and know where you stand, you will feel more in control and more prepared for whatever comes your way as part of a very emotional and potentially upsetting process.

It can help you to avoid mistakes

Your head will be spinning if you are considering a separation and it can be easy to make mistakes that you later come to regret, including things you say or things you do in the heat of the moment. We have previously published a guide to make a divorce as smooth as possible – which can be accessed here for additional guidance in the early stages.

Solicitors will ask the right questions…

At difficult times like these, there will be many questions running through your head. Should you have a trial separation? Should you get counselling? Whose fault is the breakdown of the relationship? How do you tell the children? How can we have difficult conversations without arguing? What if your partner disagrees about whether to split up? How will your finances be affected? …and so on.

A good solicitor will help you take control of the process, helping you to focus on what you really need to do, and help you to stop worrying about everything else. They might even present questions you hadn’t even thought of, but which are worth considering.

…And give the right answers

The best answers aren’t always the ones you want to hear, but as their client, a good solicitor will always do their best for you. This can include telling you things you don’t necessarily want to hear, but which will be for the best in the long-run.

Every separation is different and therefore our advice will be tailored to suit you. The fundamentals of the law don’t change, and an experienced family law solicitor will be able to apply the relevant legal advice to your unique situation.

You can get advice on finances

A good solicitor will be able to give you detailed advice on your finances – what you are entitled to and what you might have to give up. You should take into account the family home, savings, debts, pensions and financial needs for the children of the family.

Not only do we consider legal solutions but also take practical considerations into account – giving real-world advice that is tailored to your situation. We have previously published a blog that busts some of the most common myths about your finances during a divorce – you can read that here.


Family mediation can be a cost-effective and non-confrontational way to resolve family problems without the need to go to court. The important part is remembering to make sure any agreements reached at mediation are drafted into a legally-binding document. We can make a referral to a local reputable mediator if appropriate however it is essential to receive legal advice too and preferable to have this prior to attending mediation. Don’t fall into the trap of reaching agreements that other parties can then go back on or change their mind over.

Click this link for more information about any of our family law services.

Contact our expert team today to arrange an appointment in Newcastle, Cramlington, Ashington and Sunderland, or alternatively by calling 0800 107 3000, to discuss your particular requirements.

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