The festive period is often portrayed by the media and advertising industries through rose tinted glasses. Images of perfect family life with log fires burning, endless food and numerous gifts being unwrapped by excited young children are the norm. These images raise unrealistic expectations for all of us as we strive to recreate such scenes in our own homes. Sadly, for many families, there will be reasons why the festive period is not so idyllic, be that due to bereavement, illness, loneliness or family tensions.
As family law solicitors approach the Christmas and New Year period we are mindful that after the holidays we will experience an increase in new clients seeking our advice regarding family law matters. Often that advice concerns separation from a spouse or partner. We at Innes & Mackay do our utmost, wherever appropriate, to advise our clients of ways to negotiate separations as swiftly and amicably as possible. One such process is called Collaboration.
We have four collaboratively trained solicitors in Innes & Mackay and there are a further nine throughout Inverness. We have all undergone additional training in order to provide clients with this alternative form of dispute resolution. All of our details can be found on the Consensus Collaboration website link noted below. Those of us trained in Collaboration are devout advocates of the process having found it has helped many of our clients through the most difficult of personal situations. The process involves calm, respectful discussions over a series of joint meetings. At such meetings issues to be resolved can include:-
- arrangements for the children
- ensuring each party is able to meet living expenses after separation
- identifying and valuing assets and debts to be shared and/or divided
- exploring options for sharing and/or dividing assets and debts
The aim is to reach agreement on all of the issues to enable a separation agreement to be drafted then signed and, where appropriate, a divorce progressed.
For those who have made the difficult decision to separate and seek legal advice, I would offer my reassurance that the family law solicitors of Inverness have a wealth of experience, expertise and sensitivity and a shared goal in making separating as painless and straightforward as possible.
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I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the entire team at Innes & Mackay, to wish all our readers a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Sarah Lilley is an Associate with Innes & Mackay in Inverness. She has practiced exclusively in family law for the last eight years and is trained in Collaborative Family Law. She has appeared in courts across Scotland representing clients in a wide range of family related disputes.