Nicola’s Diary

I am now six months into my Training Contract at Lewis Rodgers, although prior to this I was a Legal Clerk for here for nearly three years.

It has been extremely busy this week with me being out at Court every day. I have been to Court on Ex-Parte Injunctions (urgent applications to the Court) and also children matters concerning both residence and contact applications. There have been recent changes and discussions in this area. Please check out our recent blog on the Disclosure of Evidence within Children Act proceedings.

Attending Court can be very difficult for clients and therefore it is my job when I am at Court to make it less stressful for the client. When I attend Court on urgent applications the other party in the proceedings is not present and therefore the discussions that i have are merely with the client. However at hearings where the other party is present I enter into discussions with either the other legal representative or the other party who may be representing themselves. This can sometimes be difficult as I am not able to advise that person and I always continue to act in my client’s best interest. The cases that I have been engaged with this week have been very interesting.

Unfortunately the work in the office does not stop because I am out at Court and therefore I have been drafting divorce petitions on my return to the office. This is the start of a divorce and can be a difficult time for clients. However here at Lewis Rodgers we have a sympathetic ear for all of our clients and understand that a marriage breakdown is a difficult time.

Within the divorce process we discuss the finances of the marriage and this can be done without the need for an application to be made to the Court. We can only advise on the finances of the marriage if there has been full and frank disclosure. This is where each party provides to the other their last 12 months bank statements, valuations of any property that they may have, pensions and any other assets as well as details about any debts that the parties may have. Only once all of that has been exchanged can we then give advice on specific settlements. If the matter cannot be resolved through us or mediation (which is a brilliant service) may there need to be an application made to the Court for Ancillary Relief. This is where the Court will decide how the finances of the marriage should be resolved. One of the important forms within this process is a Financial Statement (referred to as a Form E) which details all of the finances of the marriage of each party. I have completed one of these this week with a client together with the evidence of the finances.

I have engaged with a wide variety of professionals including Property Valuers, Social Workers, Counsel (Barristers) and Collectors of specimens for both alcohol and drug testing.