How Do I Choose the Right Divorce Solicitor?
31 May 2016
Once you’ve made the decision to get divorced, you need to decide if you will do the divorce yourself or choose a Divorce Solicitor to deal with the divorce for you.
You can do your divorce yourself, but there are some very good reasons to get expert legal support including these Top 10 reasons to use a Divorce Solicitor.
Once you’ve decided that it would be best to use a Divorce Solicitor, there are some things you should think about before making a decision about who you want to appoint as your Solicitor.
When you speak to a Solicitor about your divorce, you should make sure that they have specialist expertise in the area of divorce and family law. Many high street law firms offer family law as part of their business, but they may not specialise in divorce.
Using a Solicitor that only focuses on family law and divorce law means that they’ve have the experience you need to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many specialist Divorce Solicitors are members of professional bodies that recognise their expertise.
You can check to see if the Solicitor you are considering to represent you is a member of Resolution or part of the Family Law Accreditation Scheme with the Law Society. This demonstrates that they're experts in their field. 2. How do you feel about your Solicitor?
This is a really important to think about how you feel about them and to think about whether you would feel more comfortable with a man or a woman. If you walk into the room and take an instant dislike to them or you don’t trust them when you speak to them on the phone, this may be a good enough reason to go and make an appointment with someone else.
A divorce can be a long process, particularly where there are children involved and where there are financial ties to sort out. This means you will spend quite a bit of time with your solicitor. If you don’t like them and don’t have a rapport with them, this can be a big barrier to getting you the best outcome from your divorce.
Speak to them on the phone to get a sense of how they work and whether you can work with them. You don’t want to go through your divorce wishing you’d made a different choice of solicitor. 3. Mediation
Everyone who gets divorced in England or Wales now has to consider Mediation before they can go to Court. There are some exceptions to this though, known as special circumstances. If you’ve been a victim of domestic abuse, you won’t have to consider Mediation. If you or your ex-partner do not want to take part in Mediation, you can’t be forced to. It is a voluntary process.
The wording means that you don’t actually have to have Mediation, but you have to have considered it. This requires you to attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) to find out more about Mediation and to find out whether a mediator could help you and your ex-spouse to come to an agreement. Using Mediation could mean that you can keep your legal fees lower than they otherwise would be. 4. What costs are involved?
Cost will inevitably be a consideration you have to make when choosing a Divorce Solicitor, but remember that cheapest is not always the best. You need to take into account the type of divorce you are facing.
If your relationship breakdown has been full of animosity and your ex-spouse won’t agree to anything, you’re likely to have a battle on your hands. This type of divorce will cost more than a divorce where both of you have agreed a way forward and you stick to it.
Remember, if your divorce goes to Court, you’ll have additional Court fees to pay and you’ll need to use a Barrister too. This will escalate the cost of getting divorced significantly. Anything you can do to reach agreement as soon as possible, without compromising your settlement will help to keep your divorce costs as low as possible. 5. Client reviews
It’s always worth looking at reviews on the website or checking out your potential Solicitor’s LinkedIn profile. Seeing that they have positive comments from their past clients can help you to make up your mind. You may find case studies about their clients, which shows how they’ve helped. This can help you relate their experience to your own situation.
These are a few ideas to help you to choose a Divorce Solicitor but in the end, choosing someone who helps you get through a really tough period in your life is important.
Co-op Legal Services offer fixed fee divorce for £500 +VAT (£600 including VAT). We can also provide expert legal advice and support with financial agreements and child care arrangements following a divorce.