Our team of experienced family lawyers and divorce solicitors in Bristol will be able to advise and guide you through your matter. We are entirely committed to helping you to achieve a dignified resolution.
We also work with several other professionals who provide invaluable support to our clients. They range from specialist legal help to experts in finance to facilitators in cases involving children. They can be vital in achieving the best outcome for your case or, in some instances, helping to give you the support you need throughout the process.
Here are just a few of the people your solicitor might talk to you about:
As solicitors, we will work directly with you and will represent you throughout your matter. We will give you continuity and expert advice on how to progress your case, helping you to feel more confident about the future.
In the event your case involves contested court proceedings, we will discuss instructing a barrister to represent you at court. These professionals are specifically trained in litigation and deal with court hearings almost every day. During your case, your barrister will be able to use this expert knowledge to represent your best interests at court. They will present your case to the judge or magistrate over the course of any court proceedings and work towards the best possible outcome for your case.
The majority of our matters settle by agreement between the parties and do not involve contested court proceedings. We talk to clients about all the options for resolving their dispute and we can help you decide whether mediation would be suitable for your case.
In many cases, you will need to supply proof that you have attended a mediation information and assessment meeting before making an application to court, so this is often an avenue worth exploring. Although there is a cost, mediation is also generally quicker and cheaper than going to court.
Here at Harbour Family Law, we can help you prepare for mediation sessions so you get the most out of the experience. This can include completing financial disclosure forms as well as advice on what you will need to bring with you and how to approach the process.
Mediation involves an unbiased third party- known as a mediator- working with both individuals in an attempt to forge an agreement. Although they are unable to give legal advice, they can help to create a calm, productive atmosphere and will listen to all involved confidentially and without judgment. The presence of both parties together is often recommended but, in certain circumstances, a mediator can work between different rooms. At the end of mediation, your mediator will create a “memorandum of understanding”. This document serves as a record for everything you’ve agreed and all parties are given a copy to take away with them.
This agreement can then be brought to us to be formalized into a binding and enforceable outcome.
Pensions are often part of the financial settlement in divorce. In order to fairly divide assets, it is essential that they are taken into account. Despite not being liquid cash, they are usually treated as a capital asset and can be of substantial value. They also represent a form of future income, so deciding how a pension can be shared, offset, or attached is a vital component in planning for the future of both parties.
If pensions become an issue in your matter, your solicitor will talk to you about instructing a pension expert to give advice on how to deal with your retirement income. Since this can be complex to unravel without specialist assistance, this is often the only way to ensure that you reach an outcome which is fair and reasonable.
A pension expert who is experienced in divorce matters will use a cash equivalent value as a starting point to carry out calculations for dealing with pension claims. Once we have their report we can advise you on the most appropriate route to take in your case.
Knowing the true value of your assets is critical when it comes to holding constructive negotiations. This is especially true with properties, regardless of whether they are to be sold, as they are often valuable matrimonial assets.
If it’s not possible to agree a value for the purposes of negotiation, it may be necessary to instruct a surveyor as a single joint expert to prepare a valuation report. It is also possible for this to be done independently of the other party but sharing the service where possible can save money and time.
A valuation report is not a house survey and thus does not inform you of structural damage to the property. It will, however, provide an estimated value for the property. This is achieved by taking into account variables such as the house’s location and condition. The surveyor’s knowledge of the local area and comparable property sales can also help to build a full picture of the asset’s value. A valuation report can be particularly useful with properties which have unusual characteristics.
Independent Financial Advisors
You might feel that you would benefit from advice from an independent financial advisor during or after your case. They can assist in several ways.
These include helping you with certain pieces of paperwork, planning for retirement, and arranging life insurance in connection with maintenance orders. Additionally, they may be able to give advice about how to invest lump sum payments or pension shares.
Independent Financial Advisors can also be useful in helping to set you up in the best possible way to manage your assets for your life post-divorce. This could be by assessing your new income and expenditure situation through cash flow and budget analysis. They can also help you find a new mortgage and will generally assist you to rebuild your finances.
Counsellors and therapists
Divorce and separation are some of the most stressful life events anyone can experience. It is normal to experience feelings of isolation, anger, and anxiety for the future. Many of our clients find that the support of a professional is invaluable at this time.
Both counseling and therapy can provide you with a non-judgmental environment in which to work through your difficulties with a qualified expert. This can provide you with peace of mind and an outlet for any frustration or upset you feel during your matter.
Counseling is usually made up of a predetermined number of structured sessions while therapy is more of an ongoing, freeform process with more time for exploring your thoughts and feelings.
Sessions such as these can help you find the clarity you need to adjust to your new situation and move forwards with your legal matters.
Family support services
In a case involving child arrangements issues, the children’s needs must always be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. For this reason, it is sometimes necessary to have outside support. We frequently help clients agree arrangements with the other parent, but family support services can assist in situations where some kind of regulated contact is needed.
Sometimes, supervised or supported contact is advised in cases where a parent has a history with illegal substances or where there are concerns for the child’s safety in their presence. It can also be an option when a parent has been uninvolved with the child’s life for a substantial period of time.
Family Support Services can help to safely and efficiently coordinate this process. This can help children maintain a relationship with a parent in otherwise difficult circumstances.
The news articles and blogs contained on this website do not constitute legal advice in relation to any particular situation. While Harbour Family Law aims to ensure that the information is correct (for England & Wales) at the date on which it is added to the website, the legal position can change frequently, and content will not always be updated following any relevant changes. You therefore acknowledge and agree that Harbour Family Law Ltd accept no liability whatsoever in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss of damage caused by or arising directly or indirectly in connection with any use or reliance on the contents of our website to the extent that such liability cannot be excluded by law.