What Questions Should I Ask My Solicitor When Getting Divorced?

When you are looking for a lawyer, it is important that you know what questions you should ask your solicitor when getting divorced or separated. This will help you to select the best family divorce lawyer for you and will make sure that you make the most out of your time with them.

What areas of law do you practise in?
This is one of the first questions you should be asking your lawyer as well as checking their qualifications. All lawyers should at least have a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (GDLP) but it is useful for lawyer to have additional qualifications such as a Master in Laws (LLM) or other relevant degrees and qualifications that will help your case. You should also find a lawyer who practises exclusively in family law. If your lawyer practises in family law plus criminal law plus conveyancing plus commercial law (or say that they are a generalist) you may find that they do not work in the family law area frequently and are not that familiar with the process and law.

What are your fees and how are they structured?
You should ask this question up front so you have an understanding of how their fee structure works. Lawyers who use a time-costing basis will charge you according to every phone call and every email and you then receive a legal bill at the end based on those calculations. Fixed fee divorce lawyers will give you a quote that covers all the work they will do so you will know exactly what your fee is before they even start work and you won't have to worry about being charged every time that you talk to them. Be careful of lawyers who give you a quote and claim to be fixed fee but then change their fee structure to time-cost you once you have engaged them.

Check out our FAQs, How Much Does A Family Lawyer Cost?, to get an idea of what your fees might be.

What has happened in cases similar to mine and how is my case different?
The worst question you can ask is whether your lawyer will 'win' your case. If any lawyer tells you that they will win your case, or that they are a no win, no fee family lawyer, then they are either lying or they know nothing about family law. Every case is different and it depends on many different circumstances like what the other party does and what judge you receive. There is no way to guarantee any results.

What you should do is have your lawyer compare your case to matters similar to yours that they have worked on and explain what happened in those cases. You can ask them how your case differs to other cases that they have worked on and what you need to focus on in your individual case.

What to do before talking to your lawyer...
Do some research yourself so you have a bit of an understanding about what the process might be for the area of law you need help with. You can find out what some of the Frequently Asked Questions are so you can gain some knowledge about what other people need to know when going through the same thing. For example, you might want to know how to get a divorce or how to split your assets after separation or how to get custody of your children. Obviously there is no substitute for advice from a good family lawyer, but if you have a bit of knowledge behind you, you will be able to use your time wisely and ask more specific questions.

What to ask at your first consultation...

  1. For parenting matters, you should ask what the law says about your particular situation for example, you should ask what parenting arrangement a court would likely order in your circumstances.
  2. For financial matters, you need to ask what your total property pool is and how the court would likely divide your assets and liabilities. Your lawyer should provide you with an approximate percentage (and monetary value) you would be entitled to.
  3. For all matters, you should ask your separation solicitor what your options are moving forward and what option your lawyer would recommend moving forward.
  4. Also, ask your family lawyer what steps you can take to put yourself in the best position for your separation.

We offer a free, initial, no-obligation telephone consultation to help you on your way contact us here to arrange a free legal advice session.

Our separation solicitors have many years experience in family law including parenting, financial and domestic violence matters. We focus on positive solutions and simplifying the separation process. Find out more about us here.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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