Cornwall LivingIssue #63

In safe hands

Finding support when you need it most.

While they can be great fun for some, the summer holidays can be a difficult time for other families, with family lawyers reporting a noticeable increase in divorces in the period after the holidays. Unfortunately, divorce is simply one of those things in life that, from time to time, happens, and it’s important to be pragmatic and seek the right, timely advice.

“Many people who come to me think they are alone – but that’s just not true.”

Jo Stone, a partner in the family law team at Stephens Scown LLP in Truro, says: “The holidays offer time and space for reflection, and for some couples that means a realisation that they have come to the end of their relationship.”

Jo sees first hand how difficult it is, adding: “Many people who come to me think they are alone – but that’s just not true. It is right to feel emotional – be that hurt, anger, sadness or even grief for the end of a relationship; it would be odd not to. It’s my job to help by being an emotional filter, so that together we can look at the bigger picture and tackle any decisions that need to be made to try and put life back together again.”

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, but Jo tells us he often encounters a common misunderstanding. “The irony is that although most break-ups are caused by the behaviour of one or, in some cases, both partners, it is the one factor that usually has no impact on the practicalities of divorce and the financial outcome. That is something that can sometimes be hard to understand, particularly if you feel that you’ve been ‘wronged’ by your partner.”

Taking advice early is crucial. “As hard as it may be, the best thing you can do when you’re contemplating divorce is to take legal advice early, so that you understand your options. Divorces don’t need to be confrontational – a good family lawyer should be a member of Resolution – the national body of family lawyers committed to amicable divorce – and focussed on resolving issues in a constructive way, particularly if there are children involved. They should be able to tell you at the very first meeting what the financial future might look like.”

So, while we hope it isn’t something you need to think about, it’s good to know the right advice is out there to help you focus on what really matters.

“Many people who come to me think they are alone – but that’s just not true."