But if you are one of those folk who has resolved to make a fresh start, relationship-wise, in 2018, what can you expect if you get in touch with a divorce lawyer?
Whatever the time of year, we're here to help - but it's important to remember that you make the decisions. Many people are worried that they will find themselves committed to a long and painful conflict, or that they won't be able to stop the process if they change their minds.
My job is not to judge or pressure you, it's to make sure that you understand your legal rights and obligations and the options for resolving things (along with the risks, costs and benefits of each). Armed with that knowledge, you might decide to forgo some of what you might be entitled to claim financially for the sake of getting things sorted out. You might make a more generous offer of settlement than the law requires. You may even want to put everything on hold and try again to make the relationship work.
If you and your spouse both agree to a solution, you're free to do so. The right decision is the one that best fits your situation and your future - and it's in your hands, not your divorce lawyer's.
The stereotype of the "shark" divorce lawyer is also alive and well, and people can worry that consulting us will make the split more acrimonious. This is understandable, because sometimes our advice will be to do something, like starting a court action, which seems to be aggressive. However, in my experience, this doesn't create conflict - it brings to the surface a conflict that is already present. Sometimes we have to assert your position strongly to obtain a positive outcome, and we will always fight your corner when that's needed. But that's not the same as picking a fight where none exists, or treating your spouse (or their lawyer) aggressively or rudely. That's unnecessary where the goal is to help you resolve the issues so you can move on with your life.
And what about costs? This is always a concern - nobody's household budget includes divorce legal fees, and relationship breakdown can affect your finances. We know that uncertainty is worrying and we will be clear with you about fees from the outset. There are various ways to pay for your divorce, including a litigation loan, and we can help you explore the options.
In the Family Law Team we offer a fixed fee first meeting so you know in advance what it will cost to get initial advice on your situation. At that meeting we'll give you a 'road map' of what needs to be done to resolve your legal problems, and guidance about the likely costs. It can be hard to give an accurate cost estimate for your case as a whole, but we'll break down the fees as we go along so that you understand the work we're doing, why we're doing it, and what we’ll charge for it. No matter what time of the year you pick up the phone.