• The Villages Mag

How do you choose a divorce lawyer?

It would appear that any ‘information’ we need nowadays is usually only a couple of clicks away. Yes, you can get your decree absolute online, but there are so many aspects to a relationship breakdown that are not covered in this online process. One of the most important of those is getting a specific court order to confirm the outcome of any financial agreement which you reach with your spouse. This is not covered by the decree absolute. Even before this, most people are in the dark about what kind of financial agreement is ‘right’ or ‘fair’. Getting good early advice from a specialist is therefore essential.

Here are some tips when trying to locate the right lawyer in order to act on your behalf

  • Ask those you trust for recommendations. This is definitely the best starting point.

  • Do go online, but don’t just concentrate on the first ‘ad’ entries. Try www.resolution.org which has a good ‘lawyer finder’ page.

  • If you are still getting on well with your spouse, try mediation first. The mediator can then often recommend a lawyer for further advice.

  • Speak to a few lawyers on the phone. It really is essential that you get on with your lawyer and there is no substitute to a decent chat for you to get the measure of them. All lawyers worth their salt will give you 20 minutes of their time for free.

  • A divorce lawyer isn’t considered great at their job unless they have at least 10 years’ experience behind them.

  • It is important to ascertain what and how will they charge? Most law firms are terrible at being up front about their fees. City centre lawyers will be pricier.

  • Is the lawyer you instruct actually going to be the lawyer who deals with your case? Plenty of high profile lawyers pull in clients based on their reputation, then pass the work to their assistants. Would you be happy in that situation?

  • Will you be able to get hold of your lawyer when you need them? Many lawyers still hide behind their secretary or receptionist, or aren’t available before 9am or after 5pm, or over the weekend. Get a direct dial number, or better still a mobile.

  • Finally, if you get a bad feeling about the lawyer you have chosen, trust your instincts and get a second opinion from another one. This will cost you a little more, but it will either confirm that you were right to be worried; or assure you that you are okay to stick with your first choice!

Robin Charrot

Evolve Family Law

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