“Please – take a seat,” the solicitor ushered Liz Jones and her mother to the two vacant chairs door-side of her desk. “Now, how can I help you?” She asked, with a faint smile.
Liz hesitated. “I er... want a divorce.” She replied, weakly.
“OK, and what are the circumstances?”
“Where to begin?” Liz asked.
“At the beginning?” The solicitor offered. “Why do you think your marriage has broken down?” She continued, rather more helpfully.
“Her husband’s seeing another woman.” Interjected Liz’s mother Julia.
The solicitor looked at Julia. “I see.” She said. “Has he admitted this?”
“He doesn’t have to. It’s obvious.” Continued Julia. “He works with her. Been sending her personal emails and texts.”
“But has he actually gone out with her?” The solicitor tried to direct the question at Liz, but it was her mother who responded.
“Yes. Spent the night with her. More than once.”
“Have you spoken to him about this?” The question was once more directed at Liz.
There was a moment of silence. The solicitor could see that Liz was trying to hold back tears. She gave her client time to compose herself.
“I... tried to.” Liz replied, her voice breaking. “But he just said I was being stupid. Then when I told him about the emails I’d seen he became angry. He said that I shouldn’t have been looking at his private emails. I told him he shouldn’t be carrying on with another woman. Then he hit me. After that, he left, and he’s not been back since.”
At that point, the tears began to flow. The solicitor offered her a tissue from a box on her desk.
“I see.” She said again. “Perhaps I should take some details.”
The solicitor began taking notes. The details she wrote down could have been from any one of a thousand divorces she had dealt with in her long career: married ten years, two children, jointly-owned house, mortgage, husband runs his own business, wife works part-time, marriage been breaking down for a while, husband now seeing another woman... apparently.
“Will I lose the house?” Liz asked, anxiously.
“No, I don’t think it will come to that.” The solicitor reassured her.
“Certainly not.” Interjected Julia. “He can afford to keep paying for it.”
The solicitor did not reply.