WSP Solicitors Simon Hawkins and Louise Kelly deal with divorce and matrimonial matters, as well as all aspects of family law.
Together, they share their many years of experience on the best way to navigate the choppy waters of challenging times for families and couples in Gloucestershire.
There’s a lot to consider for people going through
challenging life circumstances. Where would you
recommend they start?
The first thing would be to speak to someone they trust and share their situation.
It is so important when going through challenging and upsetting situations to have support from others. That is often family and friends.
It is also important to seek initial legal advice. It is often fear of the unknown and not knowing where you stand that makes the situation feel so much worse and scary.
Getting the reassurance of where a person stands legally and what their options are often makes the situation feel less overwhelming and more manageable.
Your slogan is ‘life less complicated’ – what are the typical complications with divorce and family law?
Complications vary between cases. In divorce and finance, it might be the involvement of a third party. It could be a new partner and their involvement. It might be a family asset owned by multiple people.
In cases involving children, it can be welfare concerns for a child through domestic abuse or substance misuse issues. Or trying to understand why a child may not want a relationship with a parent when there appears to be no clear or obvious reason.
Family law is very emotive. It is really difficult for clients going through life changing and heartbreaking situations to see a way forward and often their own emotions can cause complications.
How do you navigate these complications?
At WSP Solicitors, we take the person back to basics.
It is important to get a detailed history of a party's relationship and know where they are now and what they want to achieve.
It is helpful to break down the situation into manageable pieces. Taking one step at a time is often a way people can cope with and adjust to new situations.
It is also important to understand how a person feels and the impact of their situation on them.
At WSP Solicitors, we listen, empathise and work closely to try and find a way forward that is best for each individual client.
What are some of the best outcomes in divorce and family law?
The best outcomes are where both parties feel they have achieved something fair.
What is fair differs between people and situations. It is also very positive when separated parties can maintain a good relationship with each other. That is particularly important when there are children involved.
We often find that if parties are able to agree matters between them with the on-going assistance of legal advice and guidance, that achieves a positive outcome.
It is also rewarding when you are able to help a vulnerable person or victim of domestic abuse obtain security and safety for themselves, as well as rediscover themselves and take back control of their lives.
When are you most proud of the services you provide?
At WSP Solicitors, we are proud to help every client. Each case is unique and requires different skills.
In Family, we are particularly proud to be there to support clients through some of the most difficult times of their life.
Not just to provide legal advice and help them achieve a practical and fair legal outcome; but also to help them emotionally by offering a listening ear, support and understanding.
We are also able to refer clients to other services that can provide much needed help, advice and support. That might be emotional support or financial support.
Do you have any surprising outcomes from cases you’ve worked on?
Most cases have an element of surprise! We are all human and all prone to changing situations and changing our minds.
Judges can also be unpredictable, too. Family judges have wide discretion and so outcomes are never guaranteed and do not always turn out the way you expected.
In your experience and bearing in mind your firm has 250 years of service to draw upon, how can people best protect themselves?
It is always beneficial to seek legal advice before making a life changing decision, such as getting married or starting a family. There are several things to consider.
Where a couple has individual assets they would like to protect, they might want to consider a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement when getting married.
Where parties intend to cohabitate and not marry, they need to know their rights are limited. They might want to consider a cohabitation agreement.
If buying a property together, they might want to consider whether they need a document to record how they will each own the property.
For more information visit wspsolicitors.com.