Lucy Greenwood of The International Family Law Group LLP (IFLG) and Emma Hatto of BOWER Group write about the considerable benefits of having third party assistance for the practical work required during the difficult personal process offamily separation or divorce.
Families come in all shapes and sizes but when you are considering the breakdown of relationship how can third party assistance take some of the stress out of this tough period in your personal life?
Lucy Greenwood says:
“Having done this work for over 20 years I recognise and understand fully the various stages that most clients go through during the process. Without sounding too dramatic, for many it can be not unlike a bereavement. Divorce or separation also invariably causes a sense of panic – what will the future bring? – will I still have enough money to live on? – will I have any money left? – will I see the children regularly? – will the children want to spend time with me?
As an experienced family solicitor I can help find sometimes technically challenging, but pragmatic solutions to guide clients through the complex legal maze of this most personal and significant event in their lives. At IFLG we specialise entirely in legal issues surrounding relationship breakdown. Our team has varied and renowned specialists for children and financial aspects of a breakdown. This means we can bring a comprehensive and strategic approach to your matter. Few, if any other London firms have the volume and invaluable experience that IFLG has of international family law case work. In international cases in particular, time is often of the essence and delay can cause significant disadvantage.
However, sometimes additional, impartial and practical support is invaluable to clients as even with a good family solicitor on board, many clients still dread reading correspondence from their estranged partners – as it can sadly feel to them like a personal slur on their character. This can lead to involuntary procrastination.
Like all professionals we need clear, informed instructions and often quickly, if you are going to get the best from our advice. It is therefore essential that however dreadful those letters can make people feel, that their contents are still relayed.
Often (historically) many clients have not had to deal with professional advisers – the time commitment needed to collate the information requested by a solicitor or court can be greatly underestimated.
Many of my clients work full-time, travel frequently to different time zones or care for children full-time. Given their commitments they have limited free time in which to do the inevitable “homework” set by their family lawyers. Their time is very precious and a loss of it to deal with their legal case can be very unwelcome. Spending time answering correspondence and chasing financial disclosure can eat into a client’s highly valuable down time (much needed throughout legal proceedings) and the time they share with their family.
Many also find the process interferes with their concentration at work and this can lead to a temporary loss of performance at work.
Some are not nationals of England and so are also often unfamiliar with some of the terminology and disclosure commonly required during divorce proceedings here.
So what can be done to make your home and litigation life easier, and also ensure you get the most value for money out of your family solicitor?
Lucy Greenwood says:
“An increasing number of my clients at The International Family Law Group LLP are employ a specialist administrator to help with their “homework” during family proceedings. This usually takes the form of a personal assistant who can prioritise post, write to third parties for instructions, distil, explain and filter what needs to be done by clients. They can then send information direct to the lawyers (with the client’s full prior authority of course).”
Some lucky people already employ such administrative maestros to deal with their already complex ‘life-admin’ and personal financial affairs. Others would really benefit from such assistance, even if it’s only occasionally or for a short period of time, for example during a very busy period at work or when the children need more of your time. We have seen the benefits of this approach really work to help ease the pressure upon the client during their divorce or separation.
Emma Hatto of BOWER Group says:
“Having been a PA I have dealt with the emotional stress and hefty admin that comes with a boss going through a divorce. It doesn’t matter how hard they try, it’s impossible not to let it affect their work and there are so many ways a PA can help and support them through such a difficult time.”
Now, running both a PA recruitment company and ibLE a platform that allows clients access to a dedicated, professional PAs on a pay-as-you-go basis, BOWER often hear of their PAs working with their Principals’ on these delicate matters.
If you already have a PA then it’s a good idea to get them involved, they can be systematic and deal with the admin without the emotional attachment. However, people are private and some may not want their office PA to be involved in such a personal matter. This is where ibLE becomes a very handy tool.
You get access to experienced PAs who work remotely. This automatically makes it easier. They deal with all the correspondence and paperwork on your behalf. This way all the work can be done behind the scenes without the worry of your personal life being exposed in the office.
Having someone capable who is not emotionally attached can be the quickest and clearest way to get through the necessary practicalities of such tough times.
BOWER Group and The International Family Law Group LLP have seen the real benefits of third party administrative assistance supporting client’s legal advice through family separation or divorce and recommend this, particularly given our commonly very busy lives.