Why it’s important to get a lawyer involved early when a relationship breaks down

Breakdowns in a relationship between a previously happy couple can be testing, stressful and upsetting. No matter the reason for the break up, someone will be hurt and a level of blame could be apportioned to at least one party. When marriage comes into the equation, this can make the problem even more acute, with legal issues coming into it and adding more to the stress of the whole situation.

With worries over money, custody and other issues factored in, on top of emotions, it’s important that anyone who is experiencing a breakdown of their relationship contacts a solicitor early on in the process in order to get advice and see where they stand. This can be a big help further down the line and helps to shape the assistance you need if and when it comes to getting divorced.

Help does not necessarily mean divorce

Just because you’ve sought help from a lawyer, this does not mean that a divorce will follow. Many people will worry about seeking a solicitor’s help because they feel it makes it official with regards to their future plans. But remember, many people worried about their relationship will speak to a solicitor to see where they stand. Speaking to someone in the know is a good way to protect yourself and find out what help you might need in the future.

Learn the ins and outs

Divorce is a complicated issue, and it’s not something that many people will know that much about if they haven’t gone through it before. Advice early in the process from an experienced specialist family solicitor can help you make informed decisions. Your solicitor will be able to look into your specific situation and tell you what your options are. They’ll be able to inform you about your rights, the rights of your ex-partner and how the whole situation could evolve.

Simplify the process

Many people to turn to the internet or books to find out what they can about divorce and its consequences. This can give you helpful guidance, but can lead to confusion and additional concerns. However, speaking to a solicitor can help reduce confusion. Your specialist family solicitor will give bespoke advice and should explain things in easy to understand language, which can be significant in helping to lower stress and worry about the divorce and relationship breakdown.


Vanessa McMurtrie

Partner, Family

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then...

Partner, Family

Vanessa McMurtrie

Vanessa trained and then qualified as a solicitor in 1991 with Hart Brown working in the Cobham office's family department for a decade. She then worked for us on a part time consultancy basis while devoting more time to her family. During this period she was instrumental in implementing Hart Brown’s family department’s case management system and later, the quality system that led to the firm’s ISO 9001 accreditation.

In 2005 Vanessa returned to client work and joined Mackrell Turner Garrett where she stayed for ten years, before re-joining Hart Brown in 2015. Vanessa knows Woking and the surrounding area well and enhances the work covered at our Woking office as part of the family team.

Vanessa has been a Resolution member since 1991, committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational and constructive way. She has served on the Surrey Resolution committee since 2008. She is a Resolution accredited collaboratively trained lawyer and welcomes the opportunity to help separating couples adopt this process as an alternative to the more traditional options available.

Over the years, Vanessa has gained a wealth of experience in dealing with the legal aspects of personal relationships, not just those coming to an end, but new relationships, too, where a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement is required. She prides herself on being approachable and understanding as she helps her clients go through the legal process.