If you are considering using the services of a divorce lawyer then it is important that you feel comfortable talking to that person and you are confident that they have the right experience to deal with your case. There are certain questions that you can ask prior to retaining the lawyer that will help you feel more confident.
Find out information about the solicitor’s level of experience.
Do not be afraid to ask your solicitor how long they have been practicing divorce law and how many cases they have taken. You should make sure that your solicitor does not know your spouse in a professional or personal manner. Although solicitors recognise a code of confidentiality towards clients, it would be highly inappropriate for you to instruct a solicitor that plays golf socially with your husband and so on.
If you feel like your divorce will have an overriding factor dominating the proceedings, such as financial orders or child custody, then ask for more specific information from the firm. It is the solicitor you are thinking of instructing a real specialist in this area?
In fact is the solicitor you have retained a specialist divorce lawyer? Many solicitors practice over different areas of the law, however you may think that it is better to retain a lawyer who is an expert on divorce. In fact if there any particular aspects of your case you think needs special assistance – make sure you find a solicitor who can offer you that specialist legal knowledge – a good example is if you are employed by the military, getting a divorce whilst serving in the army has different applicable rules i.e. such as those concerning pensions, which may make it appropriate for you to appoint a specialised army divorces solicitor.
Family mediation and collaborative law
Family mediation and collaborative law are methods for keeping divorce proceedings out of court. They are good for couples who want to reach an amicable settlement and do not want the hostility of a court case and high costs that accompany this. Neither mediation nor collaborative law will suit a divorce case where both parties are antagonistic and hostile to one another. Mediation and/or collaborative law may be a more amicable and suitable solution for you, if you believe this to be the case then you will need to seek out a qualified family law mediator or collaborative lawyer.
Ask you solicitor exactly how often you will be kept informed of developments with the case. Do not expect to be contacted every day, However do expect to receive regular contact especially if and when any major developments take place. Equally discuss with your solicitor how they will routinely contact you. For example if you prefer dealing with e-mail, are they prepared to keep in touch by e-mail.
Although fees form a big part of a decision in choosing a solicitor, do not be tempted to substitute quality for low cost.
In order to receive a rough estimation of how much the divorce is going to cost, ask your solicitor for a quote detailing fees (hourly rate or fixed fees), disbursements, and potential court fees. If the solicitor feels (possibly due to complications in the case) that the costs are going to exceed this, then they have a duty to contact you for permission before extra costs are incurred.
Finally, as divorce is such a sensitive and emotional issue, ensure you pick a solicitor you feel comfortable with. It’s very important that you are honest and open with your solicitor and that you feel confident in asking questions. You always have the choice of solicitor – don’t pick someone who you don’t think is right for you.
About the Author:
Tim Bishop is senior partner at Bonallack & Bishop, a firm of Divorce Solicitors specialising in
. He is responsible for all major strategic decisions, seeing himself as a businessman who owns a law firm. Tim has expanded the firm by 1000% in 12 years and has plans for its continued development.
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