It is important when choosing a divorce lawyer that you are comfortable working with the individual and confident in their experience. In order to get this reassurance there are certain questions that you should ask prior to appointing them to your case.
Worried about divorce or relationship breakdown? Call us today. We offer a FREE initial phone call and FREE 30 minute appointment for all aspects of family law advice.
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.
Another fact you must establish prior to engagement is whether or not your solicitor knows 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? For example, if you’re gay and looking for a civil partnership dissolution – have they any experience of civil partnership divorce?
Is your chosen solicitor a divorce specialist?
Some solicitors deal with several different areas of law and you may prefer to deal someone who is a real expert on divorce.
Furthermore, if there any particular aspects of your case you think might need special attention, make sure you find a solicitor who can offer you that specialist legal knowledge. For example, if you’re serving in the military, there are some factors in an army divorce (such as the rules regarding military pensions) which make it worth appointing a solicitor who specialises in army divorce.
Family mediation and collaborative law
Family mediation and collaborative law are methods for keeping divorce proceedings out of court. They are particularly suitable for couples who are seeking to reach an agreed settlement and avoid unnecessary hostility and can both significantly speed up a divorce and help keep your legal costs down. Neither family mediation nor collaborative law will suit a divorce where it’s likely there will be plenty of antagonism with one or both parties really fighting their corner hard. It’s well worth considering family mediation and collaborative law if you think you either might be suitable for you – in which case you will need to seek out a qualified mediator or collaborative lawyer.
Ask your 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 going for the very cheapest you can find.
To get 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.
However, there are ways in which you can keep the cost of your divorce down.
Click here to read our guide on how to cut your divorce costs – without impacting the quality of your representation
Divorce – Is it Too Late to Switch Solicitors?
Changing your solicitor during your divorce needn’t be complicated.
If you feel that your interests would be better served with a different family lawyer, don’t hesitate to make the change, whether you are at the beginning of the legal process or a more developed stage.
- Why Change?
There are plenty of reasons to appoint a new solicitor. Perhaps you have had a breakdown in communication, you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving, or you simply wish to entrust your claim to a solicitor with more experience and expertise. Switching solicitors is your choice – you needn’t feel guilty about making the change.
- How to Change
Provided that you try to switch just before a court hearing and that your outgoing solicitor has been paid in full, changing is relatively easy.
If you decide to come to us, we will let your current solicitor know of your wish to move on and ask for the transfer of your file. We will then get up to speed with your case, offering you advice on how to move forward before getting down to work. It is that simple.
- Will switching be expensive?
No – any costs incurred will be relatively low. After all, if changing solicitors ensures your peace of mind, guarantees more professional conduct of your claim and leads to a better outcome in your divorce settlement, you’ll consider it good value.
You only get one shot at finalising your divorce and as it will have a marked impact on the rest of your life, do make sure that you instruct the right solicitor. So, if you are thinking about changing your divorce solicitor, you won’t regret choosing one of our expert family lawyers.