Deciding to get divorced is a huge decision, and choosing a divorce lawyer can also be an emotional and stressful experience. Read our seven tips for finding your ideal solicitor – for both yours and your family’s wellbeing.
Ending a marriage or a civil partnership is going to be a difficult and emotional time. It may involve children, assets, pets or large amounts of money. Choosing an experienced, professional family solicitor to guide you through the process will help to alleviate some of the stresses, however complicated you think your case may be.
Many law firms offer free consultations with experienced family solicitors. Use this opportunity to ask the right questions and decide if that lawyer is right for you. The idea of divorce might be daunting to some people, so the consultation will also help prepare for the case ahead.
DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED A DIVORCE LAWYER?
You may have decided on a DIY divorce. Perhaps you have been separated from your partner for two or more years, or you have an amicable relationship with them, and you’ve made mutual decisions regarding children, assets or wealth.
But even the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry. In other words, more often than not, there will be unforeseen circumstances that need professional legal help. Family solicitors
are accustomed to dealing with all eventualities concerning divorce, and it will be worth having the peace of mind that using an experienced professional can bring.
CHOOSE A RELIABLE LAWYER
Your divorce or civil dissolution can go through many stages, some more difficult than others. What may seem simple at first could become more complex further down the line.
Find a lawyer that’s accessible and contactable at short notice, should you have any questions or need to talk about any disputes that may arise. You will be meeting your lawyer in person, so it’s useful to have one in your local area or who will travel to see you at work.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
Find out what other people have to say about the law firm or lawyer you’re going to be using. Read online reviews or ask friends or colleagues who have personal experience of dealing with law firms or solicitors.
Find a lawyer that specializes in divorce law or civil dissolution. Perhaps your case involves a high-net-worth individual or a child arrangements battle. Many law firms list their lawyers’ specialties and expertise to help you narrow down your search.
During your first consultation, don’t be afraid to ask your new lawyer whether he or she has experience dealing with cases similar to your own.
ESTABLISH A RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR LAWYER
Use the consultation as a chance to get to know your lawyer on a personal level as well as professionally. Talk about your needs, and ask about their experience in similar cases. It’s important you feel comfortable with your chosen solicitor, as you’ll be talking to them about personal and potentially difficult matters.
You may find that the lawyer you meet at first is not the lawyer for you.
A reputable solicitor will guide you to a more suitable colleague in their firm, or even suggest another law firm altogether.
FIND OUT THE COSTS UPFRONT
It’s important that you get a good idea of how much the legal services will cost so you can budget accordingly. Lawyers may charge an hourly rate, either billed in intervals or at the end of proceedings.
Some lawyers offer a fixed fee for some work, so there are no nasty surprises. For your piece of mind, find out how and when your lawyer charges.
PREPARE FOR YOUR CONSULTATION
Make the most out of your initial consultation and don’t leave any stone unturned. Book your appointment when you have enough time to sit down and have a conversation with a lawyer. Choose a time when you’re not in a rush to get somewhere else, so you can focus on your meeting.
Your solicitor will want to know basic details so make a note of these if you’re not 100% sure. They will need to know your marriage dates, personal and spousal income, what assets you have, estimated property valuations, and what pensions you have. It’s also a good idea to get this prepared so you know what kind of settlement you want to achieve.
STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE
Although the process will be an emotional one, try not to bring any bitter feelings into your negotiations. Anger, hate, and revenge may raise their ugly heads, but letting negative emotions take over will make the divorce or dissolution more complicated, longer, and possibly more expensive. And, while your lawyer may be sympathetic to your cause, keeping your situation factual will save time and get you the best possible outcome.
Be clear about what you want (and what you need) from the start, and stick to your action plan.
If you are in this difficult position and are looking for divorce advice, Pinney Talfourd is here to help. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist family lawyers based in our offices across Essex.We have evening and weekend appointments available and offer a free initial 30-minute consultation for all new family law inquiries. You can book your free initial family consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This half-hour appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimize stress and delays.