Reasons for considering a divorce lawyer
When going through the separation process, you will want to consider getting a divorce lawyer. Changes of where you live, who you live with, and your finances can be stressful, and getting a divorce lawyer to deal with the process for you will help reduce that burden. There are 10 things you will want to consider when deciding whether you want to use a divorce lawyer to help with your divorce and ensure the smooth running of the legal side of things.
#1 Be realistic with your divorce lawyer about what you want from your settlement
Before you enter the divorce process it is important to have a clear idea of what you want to try to achieve in terms of assets such as property, finances or children. Realistically, courts will try to allocate assets as equally as possible, unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise. They will consider the parties’ individual needs, and put any children’s needs first. The reason for relationship breakdown or who is at fault does not interest the courts. They take an objective view, regardless of personal situations such as whether one party has been unfaithful, taking into account present and future needs of both parties. Creating clear objectives will help your divorce lawyer to understand what you are aiming for.
#2 Get your divorce lawyer to help you to agree on an approach with your ex-partner
Where it is possible for both parties to act in a cooperative manner, divorces are quicker, cheaper and overall less destructive. Although it may be difficult to agree on an approach, the consequence of an unnecessarily drawn-out divorce is hefty legal fees, which can significantly affect any savings or equity you have. Deciding who will petition for divorce and on what grounds (for example infidelity or unreasonable behaviour) will keep costs down and make the divorce a smoother process overall.
#3 Try mediation before getting a divorce lawyer
Agreeing on arrangements for the children, house, savings, money and pensions etc. during mediation is now standard divorce procedure. This means that the divorce lawyers’ jobs are minimised to simply drawing up the agreements in full and having a court hearing, rather than paying expenses which may be eliminated. The process of mediation can help you to increase your legal understanding, since many mediators are trained divorce lawyers. Both parties should have an open-minded approach to find a settlement. Although mediation can be free if you are eligible, it is not always, and you should find out the costs and any legal advice you will receive prior to beginning mediation.
#4 Search around for legal advice from divorce lawyers to suit your needs
Legal services are available in many forms – solicitors, online or through call centres. It is worth considering that although these may be cost-effective, they may affect communication with your divorce lawyer. There is a degree of flexibility in using these services allowing you to do most of the work if you wish you. Make sure you understand what each firm is offering, and the expenses are clear, including fees, VAT and disbursements.
#5 Prepare for unexpected costs for divorce lawyers such as VAT and disbursements
Third-party fees, such as court fees, expert assessments and barrister fees may be paid as disbursements by your divorce lawyer. Make sure to check when getting quotes which of these will apply and get your divorce lawyer to update you throughout the proceedings.
#6 Get a clear estimate from your divorce lawyers and monitor increasing costs
When you have chosen your divorce lawyer, get a clear estimate of what the total costs are likely to be. Check if this is fixed and agree on the way your divorce lawyer will update you on the incurring costs throughout the divorce process. Ask your divorce lawyer about possible funding sources to help with the cost of your divorce, and discuss when you are expected to make payments, whether that is upfront, after the final settlement or in stages throughout.
#7 Make clear agreements with your divorce lawyer beforehand
To ensure good communications during your divorce, as a customer, it is vital that you clearly tell your divorce lawyer what you want. Highlight specific things which are important to you, particularly if they have little financial value, so that they can factor this into your settlement. Ensure that your divorce lawyer knows that they are obligated to keep you fully informed about your progress, as well as asking for your input to eliminate any communication problems.
Listen to your divorce lawyer. They are the expert and will be able to tell you whether you have realistic expectations and take into account your best interests. Ultimately you will have the final say, but you should take on any advice given to you.
#8 Take into account your emotions - your divorce lawyer will help you with the legal details
Be aware that during your divorce you should pursue things logically. Pursuing things for emotional reasons will cost you financially and cause you unnecessary stress. Choosing your divorce lawyer carefully will mean that they are able to offer professional legal advice, objectively and rationally.
#9 Ask your divorce lawyer questions
Do not be afraid to ask your divorce lawyer questions. If you’re wondering what could happen if you change your mind, or if you will have to pay any costs on behalf of your partner, it is better to ask and find out than be in for a shock. You are paying your divorce lawyer to give you the best legal advice so it is important that you make the most of their expertise to prevent problems later on.
#10 You have a right to complain against your divorce lawyer
Be clear from the outset about what you require from your divorce lawyer. If they do not provide the service you need, you are entitled to make a complaint. If you do, then just remain calm and clear, and remember that it is your case as a client.
For leading London divorce lawyers to help you through your divorce, give Pinder Reaux a call on 020 8252 7373.