15 questions you should ask your divorce solicitor before you start
Before you ask questions such as ‘how much does a divorce cost?’ and ‘how long will the divorce process take?’, there are more important questions you should ask your divorce solicitor in your first meeting.
It goes without saying the divorce is a lengthy and expensive process, often fife with emotional conflict and stress, which is why you need to be asking the right questions before you start the divorce process.
Grounds for divorce
In the UK there are five grounds for divorce:
- Adultery or cheating
- Unreasonable behaviour such as abuse
- The couple has been separated for two years (mutual consent required
- The couple has been separated for five years (mutual consent not required)
Ultimately, if the marriage has broken down beyond repair then both parties should seek the services of a family law or specialist divorce solicitor.
Common questions to ask a solicitor before the divorce process
It takes time to choose a solicitor who is right for you and your case, so allow yourself the time that you need and find someone who resonates with your attitude, but who you feel is able to remain calm and professional.
How to find a good solicitor
What are your qualifications?
Your solicitor should be able to provide you with evidence of their degree and memberships to any legal organisations in the UK.
How many years of experience do you have?
Understanding how many years your solicitor has practiced family law or divroce is essential for helping you make an informed decision about who to instruct.
Is this your area of expertise?
Divorce sits under family law, but not all family lawyers are divroice specialists and vice versa – so double check before you move forward with instructing anyone to represent you.
Is there somewhere where I can read testimonials from your previous cases?
All reputable solicitors should have a testimonial, client or case study that they can point you in the direction of as proof of their abilities and demeanour as a dirvoce lawyer.
When should I instruct my solicitor?
Without a doubt, if you are getting a divorce you should instruct a solicitor immediately. SHare their details with your ex-partner’s solicitor and keep communication between legal professionals rather than trying to work through the issues without a solicitor mediating your communication.
What will a solicitor ask me?
Are these reasonable grounds for divorce?
You need to be prepared to disclose the reasons why you want to get divorced to your solicitor, using specific examples in the case of unreasonable behaviour and adultery.
My ex-partner doesn’t want a divorce, what should I do?
It’s important to refer back to the reasonable grounds for divorce so that you can build up a solid case
Can we still live together if we are getting divorced?
This is down to personal preference, but due to the emotional strain this can put on both parties you may want to consider alternative living arrangements so that you can approach the situation objectively.
Will I get automatic custody of the children, how is this decided?
Unless an agreement is reached, the Courts will decide who will get the children if there is a dispute.
Will I get child maintenance? How will that be paid?
You can certainly request this. For any children under 18 there is the expectation that your ex-partner would pay some kind of support but each case is unique and the arrangements differ case by case.
Should I change the locks following the separation?
This varies situation to situation. If you are in any danger always consult your solicitor and take their professional advice in the matter.
What is the divorce process in the UK?
On average, how many months can it take for a divorce to go through
This depends on your grounds for divorce, how amicable and agreeable both parties are and the settlement of financial disputes. Once you have your first conversations with your solicitor they should be able to give you a timescale.
Typically, how much does a divorce cost?
This is hugely dependent on a number of factors, such as how amicable both parties are, but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor. The important part is that you find a solicitor who you can trust to do the work and fight your corner.
What do I have to do to give full financial disclosure?
You will need to have your finances in order and share details of your bank statements and savings with your solicitor so it helps to have these ready at an early stage.
How will I pay for the divorce? When will payments be due?
In some cases, you may want to claim legal costs from your ex-partner. There are circumstances where this will be granted but your solicitor would be the best person to advise you on the likelihood of success should you pursue this. In some cases, you’ll pay monthly, whereas some solicitors send you the bill after the process is complete.
What if I have other questions?
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with one of the team to discuss your situation in more detail – we’re always more than happy to help.
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