It is nearly a week since shockwaves reverberated across the globe at the news that Hollywood's ultimate powerhouse couple are to divorce. And along with such news comes the unrelenting, unbridled and (probably) unhealthy speculation about where it all went wrong (as if anyone can ever truly know). Solicitor Suzanne Hutton looks beyond the conjecture to examine 5 key lessons buried within the gossip for those facing divorce.
1. Get a lawyer. Immediately. Angelina wasted no time in hiring one of Hollywood's most sought after names. Seeking good quality representation from the outset is critical as early decisions about who starts the divorce, money and not least the children can be critical and affect the course of the entire case. And for the record, the process need not be as combative as the approach apparently taken by Jolie's team. At Cumbria Family Law we aim to take the heat out of a situation for our clients, not fan the flames.
2. Know your reasons. One of the first questions your Solicitor will ask is why you are divorcing. The Court will want to know your reasons and, if like the majority of divorcing parties we represent, you are citing your spouse's behaviour, it is important that you are able to recount some concrete examples to include within your Petition. These need not be so serious as an extra-marital affair with an A-list co-star (see 3 below) or a family scuffle on the private jet but there mustnevertheless be enough substance to convince the Judge that your divorce should be granted. If you are uncertain whether your examples are sufficient, ring us to book a free 10 minute case assessment or an initial half hour consultation.
3. Exercise restraint. This need not be all-out war and it it is important to focus on what really matters. You might well be heartbroken at discovering (or merely suspecting) that your spouse is having an affair but plastering it all over Facebook or mentioning the third party in your divorce petition will not help matters.
4. Put the kids first. This issue has received far less press attention than the more sensationalist aspects of the spectacle. Yet what could be more important than the 6 young lives at the centre of the #Brangelina circus? It would appear that welfare concerns have been raised which would have to be thoroughly investigated in the UK Family Courts, in the best interests of the children. Only once the Court is satisfied that there is no risk, or that the risk is being effectively managed, can the arrangements progress. Again, taking early advice about your situation is imperative.
5. Keep a sense of proportion. If you are rich and famous enough to have your own joint hashtag, please don't waste your money arguing over the coffee machine or the weather vane. If you are not, then just be guided by your Solicitor who is there to show you a sensible and constructive way through the mess (if not the press!).