Long-distance relationship - long-distance break-ups
Colette Stroud, of Colette Stroud Solicitors, is prepared to go to great lengths to resolve family disputes.
In an ideal world I think everyone should be able to choose to take a day off on their birthday.
This year however I had no choice. I not only found myself working, but working away from home, representing a client at a tricky Financial Dispute Resolution hearing in connection with divorce proceedings in Stafford County Court.
Two days before the hearing, the solicitor on the other side and I were a long way apart, both geographically (he was in Stafford!), and as to what we each felt would be fair for our respective clients. Happily for my client, the case settled ‘at the doors of the court', with him and his nearly ex-wife compromising in order to avoid a costly and emotionally draining contested hearing several months down the line.
From my client's point of view, it was a shame that I had to travel the 950-mile round trip to Stafford County Court to do the negotiating rather than sitting at my desk.
After 23 years of practising Family Law, I have learnt that there is nothing like face to face discussions to focus both the solicitors' and their clients' minds as to whether a contested hearing, involving both parties giving evidence, really is the best way forward. Such bitter battles can often be pyrrhic victories, leaving the divorcing parties ill-equipped to move on to the rest of their lives.
The increasing mobility of families, the relentless march of the internet and technology means that it is becoming more and more likely that one half of a divorcing/separating couple will live some distance away from their estranged partner.
Although I am based in Ponteland, I act for clients all over England and Wales and indeed for clients as far away as Nigeria, Jordan, China and Iowa, USA.
The fact that a potential client lives in another part of the country does not create any particular difficulties for me. If you do find yourself facing the end of your relationship, the financial consequences and the arrangements for your children, you most certainly will want a family lawyer who you feel is firmly ‘in your corner' and with whom you really connect.
After all, the decisions you make based on the advice that you receive will have an impact on the rest of your life.
- NE Times, 26/4/10.