6 Steps to take before you call a divorce lawyer
STOP! Do you really want to take this step in the relationship? Maybe you can both go to a relationship counsellor, ask your religious leader to help, read the Relate website or take other steps to save the situation. That said sometimes when a person is known to have spoken to a divorce lawyer, the other in the relationship realises how serious they are and that can cause a major change in them. But do think carefully, first.
ASK people you know which lawyer they used and what their views were. All lawyers are qualified in a similar way but you will most certainly need to have one who specialises in family / divorce law. Look on the Web. Who really looks like they specialise rather than say they do? If you can understand their website you will probably understand them. Do they offer fixed fees and/or do they tell you how much they charge? All these are very good signs.
CONSIDER what you are really trying to achieve. Maybe you would like to have some counselling or “divorce coaching” to help you with that. Many people, perhaps understandably, go to lawyers insisting upon what is really vengeance. Courts are very, very expensive places to attempt to mete out any form of punishment to a former spouse. Try to avoid this unless you want a legal bill of the huge figures one sometimes reads about.
PREPARE your papers and figures. Make a note of your view of the valuations of valuable items such as house, car and investments. Try to get papers together on pensions, savings, bank accounts and salary for both of you. The more information you can provide, the more detailed advice you will receive at an early stage.
DON’T agree anything, formally or signed, with your spouse. That will come soon enough. Quite often we see cases where a dominant partner has pushed the other into a proposed financial settlement that is very, very unwise indeed. Listen to what they say by all means but find out what the traps are for the unwary, first. But if you have already come to an agreement, do tell your lawyer. Nobody will stop you going through with it provided you understand it. Divorce lawyers are only there to advice, not to tell.
CHECK you can have an informal talk to your proposed lawyer before you are committed. Can they communicate with you? Can you understand them? Do they seem understanding and knowledgeable? If not, go somewhere else. The vast majority of complaints about lawyers are about failure to communicate properly and not about legal ability. It does not matter how technically good they are and how many certificates they have if they can’t help you understand what is happening.
Need further information or advice?
If you have decided you need to speak to a specialist family and divorce specialist you can book an appointment here or by calling 0800 3213832.