Tips for choosing a divorce solicitor
It is unlikely that the run up to Christmas and the New Year would be the time when active steps would be taken to initiate the divorce or separation process unless there is a real emergency. However, it could well be a period when someone who is in a very unhappy relationship that has broken down will consider their options.
One of the issues to be decided is whether the help of a solicitor is needed. If so, the question of how to go about finding the right solicitor will need to be faced.
The following is a checklist of some of the most important factors to take into account.
Do I need a solicitor?
Separation and divorce can be a complex process. It usually includes dealing with such vital matters as
- the divorce itself (if the parties are married)
- the future of financial arrangements (including the house, pension, maintenance, sharing of capital, interests in businesses etc.)
- comprehensive arrangements for the children (accommodation, schooling, time spent with each parent etc.)
- remaking of wills.
Some people are comfortable approaching these issues themselves without legal help; others take initial advice and then hope to be able to deal with the process themselves, possibly taking further advice from time to time. There are many people who find that the advice, support and help of an expert in this area of the law is essential.
How can I find a good solicitor?
- Ask around among family and friends
- Do remember that the area of law concerning divorce and separation is just as specialised as others such as buying and selling a house or a business,making a will, conducting court cases. Make sure that the solicitor is an expert in family law
- Look at law firm websites. It is a widespread view that a firm with a department and a team dealing with a range of family law issues is likely to have more expertise, be more flexible and able to offer a better service that a single solicitor who deals with a number of different legal specialities
- Speak to two or three solicitors to try to gauge whether you feel that you feel comfortable. Many solicitors offer a free initial interview. This is an area in which preliminary research is very important
- It is important to bear in mind that you are not searching for a friend. A good solicitor may not have the same character as you: you may not even like her/him as people: it is whether she/he is good at the job which is the real test
- The solicitor that you meet may not be the one who would deal with your case: do ask to meet that solicitor.
How much is a solicitor going to cost?
Under new regulations, solicitors must publicise the way they charge for their services. Do not be afraid to ask. Sometimes giving a firm estimate is difficult because much will depend on the amount of work involved. A case which takes longer and is complicated is going to cost more than a straightforward one.
A separation and divorce is often a life changing event or rather, series of events with serious implications. Preparation and obtaining the right legal advice is as important as it is when undertaking other legal steps.
If you or anyone you know, are affected by the issues raised above and would like more information or some preliminary, confidential advice, please contact one of our experienced experts in our family team by e-mail or telephone. Exeter +44 (0)1392 688688/Sidmouth +44 (0)1395 512515.