Much of what I do as a family lawyer is to take people on a journey – from a situation where they feel very frightened about the future, and often feel powerless, to a point where they are ready for the next step.

The people who come to see me when faced with a divorce are always worried about the way ahead, even if they instigated the divorce. My job is to make sure that they get the best possible settlement for them, and there are many ways of achieving that.

One which works very well for many couples who want to keep their relationship constructive is working collaboratively – that brings both parties and their lawyers round the table.

Information is discussed openly while we try to find a solution which everybody can live with.

It isn’t suitable in every case, and those involved have to commit to not going to court, but it often resolves issues smoothly and reduces confrontation. It helps people to resolve issues surrounding children, as well as finances, and keeps everything out in the open.

What people often need is reassurance and also some support in interpreting the information they receive. If a client has to deal with reams of complex paperwork, and they are not used to dealing with that kind of detail, I can sum up the key points and talk to them about their choices, so that they understand and make an informed decision.

Information and choices give people the power that they need to shape their future. If I can give them certainty, coming from a position of fear, that is a real success.