Does a good solicitor really make a difference during divorce?

May 16, 2015  |   Posted by :   |   Blog

Online DIY and ‘quickie’ divorce packages will have you believe that it’s possible to reach an adequate resolution to relationship breakdown with just a few pieces of paperwork and a questionnaire, but there is (or should be!) far more to the separation process if you are to resolve your differences in an effective and legally responsible way.

When you’re looking for a solicitor, the first thing you need to realise is that it’s a two-way relationship. Your lawyer isn’t there to simply get you what you want – of course it’s their job to negotiate the best outcome within the confines of possibility, but they are not a conduit for your frustrations and bitterness towards your ex. You will need to work together if you’re going to find the best solution for your situation. This means being honest and co-operative when it comes to providing information, and sensible when making decisions. No matter how good your solicitor is, if you hold back information or are unnecessarily combative, all you are going to achieve is a far more costly, stressful and extended divorce process.

Of course, hiring an experienced and understanding solicitor should make a significant difference to your outcome, so don’t just pick the first lawyer you find in the phone book. Ask around for a trustworthy referral and look for a solicitor who is a member of Resolution as well as a member of the Law Society family accreditation scheme. A lawyer with additional qualifications as a mediator, collaborative lawyer or arbitrator will give you a full range of options. A good solicitor will offer you a balance of support and guidance. You need someone who will listen to your point of view, take account of your unique needs, but who will also give you frank and practical advice – even if it’s not what you necessarily want to hear. It’s likely that you’ll have to make some tough decisions during the process of separation, so it helps to have someone who is both objective and sensitive to help you along the way.

When you first meet with a solicitor, give them a clear idea of your situation and what you hope to achieve. If they don’t explain your options then ask them to walk you through the different methods of dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration, and collaborative family law. These out-of-court techniques are always quicker, often cheaper, and are likely to be considerably less stressful than court proceedings, and may offer an effective alternative for you. Fixed-fees can be available for some cases or parts of your case, and can also help you to create a realistic budget for the whole process and avoid any hidden costs you might not be expecting.

To get the very best out of your divorce solicitor, find someone you feel comfortable with, be honest, ask plenty of questions, keep yourself informed, and, most importantly of all, listen to their advice. A good solicitor will strive to get you the best outcome possible while minimising the stress of separation. If you’re based in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire or London, please get in touch with the family law team at Frances Lindsay & Co to speak to one of our friendly solicitors – we’re here to take the weight off your shoulders.

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