According to the Office for National Statistics, the latest figures out this week show that there were 117,558 divorces in England and Wales in 2011, down by 1.7% since 2010. Jackie Wells, partner and head of the family and matrimonial team at leading law firm, Taylor Vinters, explains the D-Day concept: “The period following the festive season is often a time for reflection when people consider the future and look to take steps to change an unhappy situation”.
The occurrence that compels those to seek legal advice on divorce proceedings at this time could well be a culmination of a stressful Christmas, the return to reality, financial pressures, or the need to resolve problems in domestic circumstances, having kept it together, often for the sake of children, until Christmas is out of the way.
Jackie continues: “This is a busy period for the family law team at Taylor Vinters, and we are acutely aware of the timing. Strained family situations are often intensified during Christmas and distressed couples find themselves facing more time together, while the anxiety of financial matters can also raise issues. Combine this with compulsory merriment and New Year resolutions, and there is a potential melting pot of magnified perspectives on the entire situation”.
Says Jackie: “Taking the first step is a significant one to discovering the options available in resolving family and domestic situations. We see it very much as part of our role to explore with prospective clients whether they have really considered alternatives to separation and that they emerge from a first meeting with sufficient understanding of what that would mean for them not only financially, but more importantly in terms of their relationship with their children. This is all part of making an informed decision. A good family lawyer will invite you to an appointment where you can discuss these issues in confidence, without commitment to take further action, and will be on hand, perhaps more importantly, to guide you through what is inevitably a potentially life-changing process”.
Jackie concludes: “Where a divorce is inevitable, I believe that mediation and collaborative law should be considered in most cases as an alternative to the court process and the fact that it costs a fraction of the costs associated with litigation adds to its appeal.
“I think we can genuinely say that the benefits of our endeavours are being felt as more people understand the true value of voluntary settlements and damage limitation – for both long-term family happiness and financial security”.
About Jackie Wells
Jackie is a partner and head of the family and matrimonial team. She is an accredited specialist in pensions and 'big money' divorce cases and is also in demand to advise on the law relating to children.
Recognised as a ‘Leader in her Field’ by Chambers’ Law Directory and Citywealth, Jackie is a long-standing member of Resolution (formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association)
Jackie Wells is available for interview.
Survey: EU's Eurostat statistical office in Luxembourg
BBC report: Fewer marriages ending in divorce: http://www.bbc.co.uk/