Divorce solicitors tend to report an increase in new enquiries in the New Year.
You may be considering the end of your marriage but don’t know where to turn for good legal advice. How do you decide which lawyer to represent you if you end up on the path to relationship breakdown? The best place to start is to ask those you trust. Friends and family may have used a solicitor
The best place to start is to ask those you trust. Friends and family may have used a solicitor before or may have friends and family who can give their personal seal of approval.
The national family lawyers’ organisation is an excellent website where you will find lots of helpful information about family law and family lawyers. Central to Resolution’s philosophy is to help clients in relationship breakdown in an amicable and constructive way. This is how any good family work will do their job. The website contains a ‘find a lawyer’ resource, as well as details of those lawyers who are accredited as specialists in certain specialist fields.
Have a look at the firm’s website. Does it give you the right feel? Does it look as if you will feel comfortable with the lawyer and how they say they work?
Call the lawyer for an initial chat. A good lawyer will be prepared to have an initial chat with you at no cost. Meet a couple of lawyers before making a decision. Most lawyers offer a free initial meeting or a fixed cost for the first meeting. This is an excellent opportunity to get some practical and sensible advice, as well as meet the lawyer for the first time without the anxiety of being presented with a big bill before you have made a decision about your future and any work has got under way. The lawyer should also be able to give you a good idea at that stage about the work involved and the costs and help you weigh up your options. Prepare for that first meeting by drawing up a list of questions, and perhaps email details of your situation to the lawyer ahead of time. This will also save valuable time and allow you to use the meeting to focus on the main issues, rather than treating it as a fact finding session. www.legal500.com and www.chambersandpartners.co.uk are also widely used directories that survey lawyers nationwide and rate the lawyer in geographical and
Prepare for that first meeting by drawing up a list of questions, and perhaps email details of your situation to the lawyer ahead of time. This will also save valuable time and allow you to use the meeting to focus on the main issues, rather than treating it as a fact finding session.
www.legal500.com and www.chambersandpartners.co.uk are also widely used directories that survey lawyers nationwide and rate the lawyer in geographical and specialist sectors. Using these directories is a good opportunity to back up what you have seen and heard before making your final decision as to who to instruct.
Your lawyer is going to support you as you move forward with your life. As with making any choice about important things in life, it’s just as critical to do the research before making the right choice that will affect you and your family.
Aside from the emotional dynamic when a relationship ends, a client has to find someone who they can entrust to support them on the journey to the next stage in their life. In many cases, it is one that can have life changing consequences.
An online search can reveal a long list of names of law firms. Look for a solicitor that specialises in divorce and family law, have a look at their website and find out if they are a member of Resolution. Ask friends and family members if they have a recommendation.
Making the first contact
Making the first contact with a solicitor can be a difficult step. There may be anxiety about the other spouse knowing especially if you have not reached the conclusion that your marriage has ended. It can be daunting thinking about sharing personal information with a stranger. Don’t feel afraid to ask questions – find out the solicitors availability, capacity to take on new work, how they work, what’s involved, what they charge and how they offer first meetings. Some lawyers charge from the outset. Others may offer an initial short meeting at a fixed cost or at no cost. Don’t be afraid to ‘shop around’ to find a solicitor who is the best match for you.
What to look for in my solicitor?
Don’t be tempted to instruct the solicitor who has given you the advice you like. It’s often the advice you don’t want to hear that can be the most important to you. Any good solicitor will be prepared to advise you in detail on all matters, even saying things that may not sit well with your hopes and expectations.
Out of court resolution
Find a solicitor who is well versed in the different types of out of court dispute resolution. This may help you resolve matters without going to Court, saving considerable cost, both of which should be your objective. A good solicitor will be able to explain all the different options open to you and how they would be able to support you through each option. They should suggest which avenue might be most appropriate for you, taking into account of your personal circumstances and priorities.
Your solicitor is obliged to give you the best estimate of the costs involved and their hourly rates. Find out whether the solicitor offers fixed fee charges for any aspects of their work, ‘pay as you go’ services, sets caps on fees, or staging their representation to suit your pocket.
For more information about choosing the right solicitor for you contact Resolution www.resolution.org.uk
If you would like to legal guidance on divorce or mediation, our divorce solicitors in Norwich and Cambridge will be happy to help.
Every separation is unique but the fact remains, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about things.
There are several things you and your spouse are able to do to make the divorce or separation process go as smoothly as possible.
Not Providing Accurate Financial Information
The fact is, finances are a central issue in a separation, especially where a couple are married. If you want your divorce to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, it’s vital that both parties provide accurate and honest information regarding their finances. Information about your assets, debts, income and a realistic budget that represents your marital lifestyle and potential future expenses generally all need to be shared as part of the process of sorting out the financial aspects of a divorce.
Not Putting Your Children First
It’s easy to say you’re putting your children first but sometimes it can be really difficult to do. It’s important to think about how your children might be feeling as a result of the separation and to offer them reassurance about the situation. Try not to lose sight of the bigger picture; battles over the small issues really may not be worth it in the long run. By putting your children’s best interests and needs above everything else, your family will benefit in the long run.
Letting Emotion Take Over
Divorce can be an emotional rollercoaster. There are so many things happening at once and it can sometimes be hard to know how and what you’re feeling. We always tell our clients to expect to experience a range of emotions, resentment, anger, grief and fear. This is normal and those emotions can sometimes last a considerable time after separation. It’s ok to feel this way and it’s normal. However, when it comes to discussions about children and money, it’s best to try and lay emotion to one side to some extent. If you’re struggling to do so, it might be worth considering additional support from a counsellor to help you through this difficult period and to help you gain clarity in order to make smarter decisions, not only for yourself but for your children.
Dwelling on The Past
If you are focusing too much on events and things that have already occurred, it’s a challenge to shift your mindset to focus on what’s currently happening and your future. Focusing on what is going to happen next in your life is key to making smart decisions about your and your children’s future.
Failing to Compromise
To reach an agreement, compromise and a bit of give and take are needed. This can be hard to do during a divorce as some might have the mentality of “my way or the highway” but this will only result in more frustration and conflict which is easily avoidable. It may feel sometimes like you are making all the compromises- but the other person probably feels like that too. It’s rare for someone to feel they have got everything they want from a separation. Being willing to compromise on some issues may make other issues easier to solve- meaning a quicker and more amicable solution can be reached.
By avoiding these 5 mistakes, you’re doing your best to ensure a difficult period is made a bit simpler for everyone. If you are in need of guidance or advice on divorce or children related matters, please do not hesitate to contact our teams in Cambridge or Norwich.