You know how when you need some building works done in your home, you speak to three or four builders before making your mind up or you ask others for referrals etc, then do the same with your divorce solicitor. Meet several, interview them and go with the one whom you feel will represent you and your family best.
Here are some questions you could ask them at your first meeting:
- Do you specialise in family law? If he or she does nothing but family law, then they will be very conversant in the ins and outs of the law and any recent changes.
- Do you have court experience? Not all lawyers do.
- What steps are involved in the divorce process and how long is it likely to take. His/her answer will give you an idea as to what steps you will need to take and which ones you will need to avoid so as not to prolong the process nor incur unnecessary charges. This way you will also get to know what it takes to keep your costs down.
- How will I be charged? Hourly, flat fee? What other charges are there?
- Who else will be working on my case in case? It is possible that your solicitor maybe unavailable at times. It’s always good to know who will be stepping in his/her shoes while they are away.
- What efforts will you make to try to settle my case? Will your solicitor just do what you ask or will he/she be able and willing to advise you on whether or not to take the course of action you are proposing. Is he or she willing to play devil’s advocate?
- How will we communicate?
- Do you recommend mediation? Important to note here that if you do go through mediation, then you will still more likely than not need a solicitor anyway. But mediation is known to drastically cut costs where an agreement has been reached.
Remember that the solicitor is there to work for you yes, but he/she is also an expert in an area in which you’re not. You need to work together and if from the start you’re not happy with him/her then find one that you’re happy with.
Remember too that your solicitor is not your friend or your counsellor so don’t call him/her to vent or talk things through. So don’t become reliant on them for every single movement, thought or idea you have. You’ll only be charged. Think, think, think before you contact them.
All the best.