You’ve decided (or it’s been decided for you) that it’s time to go through divorce. Now it’s time to find yourself a good divorce solicitor to help you through the process. With so many options out there, how do you choose? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to find a divorce solicitor you can trust, who will fight for what you deserve, and help make this transition as smooth as possible.
Whether you’re looking for a shark in the courtroom or just someone to handle the paperwork, the perfect solicitor for your needs is out there. You’ve already made it this far—now let’s get you ready to come out the other side happier and ready to embrace your new future. The adventure starts here!
DIY, Arbitration, Mediation, or Litigation?
The first big decision is choosing your approach to divorce. Do you want to go the litigation route, with lawyers and court?
Or try mediation, arbitration or even a DIY divorce? Think about your situation and priorities to determine what will work best. If you have a high net worth, litigation may be necessary to determine a fair settlement. Be prepared for a long, expensive process. Look for a solicitor with experience in complex financial cases.
Mediation or arbitration can be good for an uncontested divorce or if you want to avoid court. You’ll each need a solicitor to review agreements, but the process is usually faster and cheaper. Seek out solicitors familiar with alternative dispute resolution.
For an amicable split without major assets, a DIY divorce is possible. You can complete the necessary paperwork yourself, but it’s still wise to consult a solicitor to understand your rights and ensure the settlement is fair and legally binding. Look for solicitors offering unbundled or limited scope services.
For a detailed look at these options, and the estimated financial costs of each approach read this article > Cost of a divorce in the UK.
Once you choose an approach, interview potential solicitors. Consider their experience, credentials, availability, and fees. Ask about their communication style and if they’re open to alternative options like mediation. Meet with a few candidates before deciding.
With the right solicitor guiding you, this difficult life transition can be made smoother. Do your research, understand all your options, and go in with realistic expectations about the road ahead. The solicitor you choose can make all the difference.
Do Your Research to Find Qualified Divorce Solicitors
Choosing the right divorce solicitor is one of the most important decisions you’ll make during this difficult time. Do your homework and find candidates that meet your key criteria.
Check Directories for Qualified Solicitors
Search reputable divorce directories to find solicitors in your area that specialize in divorce and family law. Alternatively you can search broad legal directories for solicitors and search within results for Family Law specialists. Look for ones with years of experience and strong client reviews.
- Find divorce directories for possible solutions (Divorce Club Directory)
- Use filters to search by location when necessary
- Examine their experience, specialty, and client rating where provided
- Search phrases like “divorce solicitor”, “divorce attorney”, “family law” or “separation attorney”.
- Read reviews from former clients to find solicitors known for being caring, affordable and effective.
- Send a message and arrange a call or meeting
Create a Shortlist and Schedule Consultations
Narrow down the options to a list to 3-5 of the most promising solicitors. See if they offer a free or fixed-fee initial consultation. This allows you to get a feel for their experience, communication style and whether they’re the right fit.
- Come prepared with questions about their experience with cases similar to yours.
- Ask about their availability, rates and billing policies so you know what to expect.
- Look for someone you feel comfortable with, who listens well and answers your questions clearly.
- Trust your instincts – if something feels off, keep looking.
The solicitor you choose will likely have a huge impact on your divorce. Do your research, find experienced candidates you connect with, and take your time deciding. The effort will pay off with a solicitor by your side ready to stand up for your best interests.
Interview Potential Divorce Solicitors Before Making a Decision
Interviewing potential divorce solicitors is one of the most important steps in the process.
Don’t just go with the first solicitor you meet – take the time to find the right one for your unique situation. Here are a few questions you should ask during your consultations:
What is your experience with divorce cases similar to mine?
An experienced solicitor will have handled many comparable divorces. Ask about their expertise and track record with situations like division of assets, spousal support, child custody, etc. depending on your needs.
What is your availability and how long do you estimate the case will take?
You want a solicitor who will be actively engaged in your case and help move it along efficiently. Discuss their current caseload and get an estimated timeline for reaching resolution. The last thing you need is for your divorce to drag on endlessly!
What are your billing rates and fee structure?
Legal fees can rack up quickly, so understand all charges upfront. Ask if they bill by the hour, provide flat fees for certain parts of the process, require retainers, etc. Make sure their rates fit your budget before hiring them.
How do you prefer to communicate with clients?
Establishing a good line of communication with your solicitor is key. Discuss their preferred methods for keeping in contact whether by phone, email, or in person. You should feel comfortable contacting them and confident they will respond promptly to any questions or concerns you may have.
What should I be doing now to prepare?
A good solicitor will provide helpful advice for next steps to take. Ask for recommendations on gathering financial documents, informing your spouse, or other actions that will help expedite the legal proceedings. The more prepared you are, the smoother the divorce process will go.
Choosing the right divorce solicitor is worth the effort. Interview candidates thoroughly and go with the one you feel most confident will represent you well and guide you successfully through the challenges ahead.
Evaluate your divorce solicitor short list and select
Now that you have a short list of promising divorce solicitors, it’s time to make your final selection.
There are a few factors to weigh as you evaluate each candidate:
While cost shouldn’t be the only factor, you need to make sure any solicitor you consider falls within your budget. Get estimates of their rates for your particular situation. Look for solicitors who are transparent about their fees upfront.
Experience and reputation
Do some research to determine each solicitor’s level of experience in family and divorce law, as well as their reputation. Check reviews from former clients on sites like Google or Yelp. See if the solicitor has any accreditations from organizations like Resolution, indicating their skill and expertise.
Schedule initial consultations with the solicitors on your short list. Pay attention to how well they listen to you and how clearly they explain legal issues. Look for someone you feel comfortable with, who will adequately address your questions and concerns.
While not the most important factor, consider the location and convenience of each solicitor’s office. If you have children, you’ll want to minimize disruption to their schedules and routines during this process. Look for solicitors located reasonably close to home or work.
- Go with your gut instinct. All things considered, choose the solicitor you have the best rapport with and who you feel will represent you most effectively.
At the end of the day, the divorce solicitor you select could have a huge impact on your case. Take your time evaluating each candidate carefully against the factors that matter most to you. The right choice will put you in the best position to achieve a fair and just outcome.
Establishing a budget
Establishing a realistic budget for your divorce is key.
Discuss fees and billing in detail with any potential solicitors before hiring them. Get clarity on estimated payment dates so you know what to expect and can plan accordingly. Review your financial position to determine what you can afford.
Look at your income and expenses to see where you can trim costs or earn additional income during this process. Some options to consider:
- Reduce or cut out discretionary spending on things like dining out, entertainment, and hobbies. Every bit helps.
- Ask family or friends if you can stay with them temporarily to save on housing costs. Offer to contribute to utilities or groceries as a way to offset the burden.
- Take on a side gig to generate extra money, if your work schedule allows it. Driving for a ridesharing service, online surveys, tutoring, and freelancing are a few options.
- Look into assistance programs for additional financial support. Some charities and nonprofits offer grants or low-interest loans for those going through a divorce.
- Negotiate the best payment terms possible with your solicitor. Ask if they offer payment plans, reduced fees, or would consider a retainer. Get estimates for different service levels so you choose what you can afford.
The divorce process is challenging enough without the additional stress of financial hardship. Taking proactive steps to control costs and set a reasonable budget will help ensure you make the best choices for your legal needs and future. While it may require some short term sacrifice, the long term outcome will be worth it.
Manage the process
Once you’ve found a solicitor you want to work with, it’s important to actively manage the divorce process to keep things on track. Here are some tips:
- Create a estimated timeline with your solicitor for the key stages of your divorce, including filing paperwork, negotiating financial and custody agreements, and finalizing the divorce. Review and revise the timeline as needed to make sure you’re making progress.
- Actively follow up with your solicitor and their team to ensure tasks are being completed. Don’t be afraid to ask for status updates on paperwork, calls, correspondence, etc. The more you stay on top of things, the smoother the process will go.
- Hold your solicitor accountable if they fail to meet deadlines or complete action items. Express your concerns professionally and try to get the issue resolved. If needed, consider finding a new solicitor to avoid unnecessary delays.
- Once the divorce is finalized, offer a testimonial for your solicitor’s website or social media if they did a good job. Recommend them to others dealing with a divorce. Word-of-mouth and online reviews are valuable for any business.
Going through a divorce is difficult enough without the added stress of an unresponsive or unaccountable solicitor. Choose your solicitor wisely, then take an active role in managing the process to achieve the best outcome. Staying on top of timelines, following up regularly, and holding them accountable are all within your control and can help reduce frustration along the way. With the right solicitor and a proactive approach, you’ll be on your way to a smoother divorce.
So there you have it, the ultimate guide to choosing the right divorce solicitor.
It may seem like a daunting process, but by following these tips you’ll find a solicitor you connect with and who will fight for your best interests. Remember, go with your gut and don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. The solicitor you choose will be by your side through one of the most difficult experiences of your life, so make sure you find one you fully trust and believe in.
With the right solicitor in your corner, you’ll get through your divorce as smoothly as possible and come out the other side ready to start the next chapter of your life. Good luck!