This week we see the media filled with news of ‘D’ day or ‘Divorce Day’.

Apparently, after a Christmas break spent cooped up with the other half eating too much, drinking too much and spending too much, thousands of disgruntled married people go running into the arms of their friendly solicitor considering their previously happy marriages to be over and have had enough!

Over the Christmas break (our offices were open) and since the 3rd of January when the world opened its bleary eyes our office has been a hive of activity. So yes January is a busy month. I have received numerous enquiries in relation to family issues but it would be wrong to put this down to a New Year determination to throw out the old.

It is always very tempting to start the new year as you mean to go on but any life changing decision should only be made after proper reflection. Most of the people I speak to at this time of year have done just that. The difficulties in their marriages have been long-standing, often they have delayed seeking legal advice knowing that Christmas is around the corner and have decided to hold off major transitions to enable their children to have a good Christmas.

There may be the odd case where an enquiry is as a result of someone being a little ‘stir crazy’ having had their fill of depressing soaps, celebrity deaths, lack of routine and bickering children but to suggest, as some commentators have in the past, that this is the reason people rush to solicitors for divorces in January is patronising and minimises the painful process most people seeking a divorce go through before they go anywhere near a solicitors office.

What I have seen a lot of though is people phoning round to get the ‘cheapest deal’ or ‘free’ advice. Whilst, of course, I would encourage anyone seeking a solicitor to ensure they get good value for money, to seek the ‘cheapest deal’ or ‘free’ advice is at best short sighted and at worst reckless. I wrote a post on my linked in page last year about choosing the right solicitor. I remain firmly of the view that no one in their right mind would employ a builder, mechanic or plumber who offered to do the job free of charge – most people employ experts who are recommended; so it should be with solicitors – do the research, seek a recommendation; go for an initial meeting.

And so back to the new year and the media driven ‘D-Day’ – with the increasing sophistication of clients and the availability of information and guidance through the legal process online, we at Greens are excited to be rolling out our new services. We have been offering fixed fees for divorce and family matters for the last 12 months, we are now moving towards unbundling our services so our clients will be able to choose the parts of our service they need to avoid paying for work they could do themselves. Some of our clients are already benefiting from our ‘Pay as You Go’ offering; our next development will enable our clients to ‘pick and mix’ to get the best service at the level which suits their pocket.

Our ‘D – day enquirers are invited to an initial meeting so we can hear their story, give strategic advice and last but not least go through the myriad of options available both in terms of resolving the issues and funding.

Georgina Burrows | Head of Family Department