Divorce & Family Lawyers
The best advice at an emotionally difficult time
Our Family lawyers, based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Thurso and Inverness but covering the whole of Scotland, have expertise in all areas of family law and will help you through a difficult time with sensitivity and objectivity.
Divorce and separation can have a huge impact on both yours and your family's lives and you will understandably want to know the financial and practical consequences of any decisions you are considering making.
When working with us, many people are surprised to hear there are more options available than they originally thought. The options available range from litigation and arbitration to negotiation, mediation and collaboration. We will discuss matters with you and decide upon the appropriate way of solving your problems. Whether it is in relation to the welfare of your children and the status of the matrimonial home, the impact on a business that's jointly or individually owned, or your financial situation, we will help you through a difficult time and allow you to progress with your life.
After discussion with you, our solicitors will give their advice on how best to resolve your situation and the options available.
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Our Family law services
- Divorce & Separation
- Pre and postnuptial agreements to protect assets prior & during marriage
- The welfare of children, including custody issues, contact & residence issues
- Financial consequences of separation and divorce
- Advice for business owners
- Co-habitation agreements (for couples who wish to regulate the financial aspects of their living arrangement outwith marriage)
- Adoption services
- Child relocation
- Cases in Sheriff Court & Court of Session
- Civil partnerships
- Cohabitee rights under the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006
- Mediation & collaboration
- Negotiating minutes of agreement and separation agreements
- Pension sharing
How much will it cost?
We understand that the affordability of legal fees is an important issue and discuss costs with our clients from the outset. Every case is different and it is not always clear at the beginning what will require to be done, so as to give an accurate estimate of the final costs.
In most cases fees are based on the time spent on the case and the solicitor's hourly rate, which varies from firm to firm and also in relation to a solicitor's experience. We are not registered to provide advice under the legal aid scheme.
Give us a call on 0141 227 9545 and we will be able to give you a free initial chat about your case and possible future costs.
To try to remove some of that uncertainty we have designed a number of packages which, in certain circumstances, will let you know from the outset what the costs will be.
The areas where we offer packaged fees* include:
- Initial advice
- Simplified divorce
- Undefended divorce
- Minutes of agreement
- Mediation services
- Pre/Post nuptial agreements
- Co-habitation agreements
* Certain exclusions may apply. Your solicitor will be able to discuss and explain. Terms will be issued in writing.
9 things to consider when contemplating separation or divorce
You may be worried about whether you are making the right decision, if you are choosing the separation. If you did not instigate it, you might want the opportunity to speak to your partner in a controlled environment. Either way, it can be useful to attend counselling with your partner to see whether there is any chance of saving the relationship. That way, and even though you will probably still be feeling upset and anxious, you will feel that you have done all you can. You might also want to consider counselling for yourself, so that you are as well-resourced as possible. A key to a successful separation is finding ways to minimise the negative impact of it on everyone involved, and wherever possible finding a way forward that enables both you and your partner to feel as okay as possible about the future.
When you first separate, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. There will seem so much to do, and so much that you feel you do not know. If you have children you will be trying to manage their reaction whilst yourself feeling anxious and worried. Make sure you have your support network in place. The better resourced you are, the stronger you can be for yourself and for those around you. Tackle things bit by bit so that you are not trying to do too much. Your family lawyer will be able to talk you through the process and give you clear action points as well as explaining what he or she will be doing on your behalf. That way, you will feel reassured that there is a clear plan for the way forward.
Often, one of the first aspects which often needs tackled is making sure there are appropriate arrangements in place for paying bills and all the other costs associated with daily living. When a couple separate and one moves out there are then two households to support, but still on the same budget. That can be very worrying. The first step is to put together a list of your monthly income and then your usual monthly expenses. That way you will be clear about what you have and what you need. Next, there can be discussion about how best to ensure your needs are met. If your partner is reluctant to co-operate, then your family lawyer will be able to advise you on the steps that they can take to sort that out for you. If you are worried about how the mortgage or other liabilities will be paid, contact the providers as soon as possible to make them aware of your concerns.
Knowledge is power. Fear of the consequences of relationship breakdown and lack of knowledge about outcomes can be daunting for many people. Weighing the options before taking a decision that is suited to your own circumstances is essential. Arranging a consultation with a Family Law Specialist can provide valuable background information in relation to your legal stand point and the options open to you. The more you know, the easier separation will be.
Consider what you want for your short, medium and long term future. Do you want to remain in the matrimonial home or would you prefer a fresh start elsewhere? It is important you think about what you would like to happen, even at an early stage, as this can help you make decisions at a later stage as things progress.
It is not only legal advice that is important. You may want to consider advice from a financial advisor particularly if there is a possibility of a pension being shared as part of your separation/divorce. A specialist family solicitor will be able to highlight to you when input from a financial advisor would be appropriate.
It can be difficult to know when and how to tell your children about the decision to separate. It is important that children know that you are there to listen to them and that you understand that they may have many questions about what the future holds. Remember that there are many helpful resources available to assist separating parents in talking to their children about a change in family circumstances. Remember too that research shows that children can cope with parental separation well, as long as their parents approach the separation in a sensitive and mindful way. A solicitor with experience of dealing with cases involving children will be able to guide you through separation in a way that keeps the interests of your children at the centre of discussions.
There are various ways of resolving the issues which require to be addressed. Going to Court is often the last resort. Choosing the correct process is important, as this sets the tone for future progress. It is important to choose a solicitor who is qualified to give you information about the various processes available, helping you to choose the right process for your circumstances.
Just as it is important to choose the correct process, it is just as important to find a solicitor who is the right fit for you. As well as having specialist expertise and knowledge, it is essential that you are able to feel comfortable speaking to your solicitor openly and that you trust that they understand your aims.
Our Family team
The Harper Macleod Family law team consists of four partners, an associate, two solicitors and additonal support staff.
The ethos of the department is to try to provide the client with the area of expertise that is most appropriate to their situation. In many cases, fees are charged on a time basis but the team also provide "packaged" fees and are happy to discuss the level of fees with every new client.
We are trained and qualified in a number of key family law areas: Jenny Smith and Amanda Masson are all accredited Family Law Specialists, Amanda Masson is an accredited Family Law Mediators and also accredited in Child Law. In addition, Amanda Masson, Jenny Smith and Alexis Miller are all trained in collaborative law.
We recently won 'Family Team Of The Year' at the 2014 Scottish Legal Awards.
As one of the largest teams delivering personal legal services in Scotland, our experience and approachable lawyers can handle all types of enquiries. Offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Lerwick and Thurso ensure that we are on hand, no matter where you are, to discuss your wishes.
Give us a call on 0141 227 9545 for a free initial chat about your case and possible future costs.
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