Contrary to popular belief “common law marriage” does not exist in Jersey.
This means that unmarried couples have very little protection unless they take active steps to protect their position such as entering into a Cohabitation Agreement.
If couples wish to enter into financial arrangements with one another (for example, buying property), Confidante can help clients agree the terms and draft the content of a cohabitation agreement (which embodies what should happen in the event the relationship breaks down).
Confidante can also assist clients with the interpretation and enforcement of an existing cohabitation agreement and/or its re-negotiation.
Most importantly, you should select a lawyer who has the expertise to deal with the issue in respect of which you need help.
In a divorce situation, it is likely that you will be sharing intimate details about your relationship with your divorce lawyer and therefore finding someone you feel comfortable with is key.
It is also important that you understand how your lawyer will work on your case. Will you get direct access to your chosen lawyer or will you be dealing with more junior members of the department?
Finally, ask to speak to the lawyer you are thinking of engaging before you instruct them. You can ask them questions to understand if they will be the right match for you.
It is important to know where you stand as soon as possible. Therefore the earlier you speak to a family / divorce lawyer the better. This may even be before you have advised your partner /spouse that the relationship is over.
Your lawyer can help you to strategise and ensure that you don’t take steps which are prejudicial to you and/or your children.
It is possible to seek early advice and then do nothing. The important thing is that you understand your options at the earliest opportunity.
Absolutely. If you are not happy with the legal representation, you can change your lawyer at any point.
However, changing lawyer part way through your case may create delay and/or increase costs (as your new lawyer will need to read in) therefore, before taking steps, it may be wise to speak to your existing lawyer to see whether you can iron out any issues you are encountering.
You could also consider a second opinion.
If you are clear that you would like a new lawyer, it is important that you properly satisfy yourself the lawyer you wish to engage is the right match for you. Arrange a call or meeting before finalising your decision.