The Process of a Divorce -Part 3 – First Meeting with a Divorce Lawyer by Karen Weiner - The Law House Family Law Solicitors, London & Peterborough


The Process of a Divorce -Part 3 – First Meeting with a Divorce Lawyer by Karen Weiner

By in All Blogs, Family Law Category on December 8th, 2014

In a series of blogs Divorce and Family Lawyer Karen Weiner will guide you through the divorce process from making the decision to divorce, seeing a solicitor for the first time to what you might need to think about once you are divorced

Step 3 – Seeing a divorce solicitor for the first time

Your marriage or relationship has broken down, you have found a divorce solicitor and you have made an initial appointment. It is important that you make the most of your first meeting with a family solicitor. So how can you prepare for that appointment and what should you expect?

Your meeting is likely to be limited in time so think about what are the most important facts that the solicitor needs to know and what you want to know. I find it very helpful if a client brings a brief summary to the first meeting – this will include things like the date of marriage, dates of birth of you and your spouse and any children and a list of all the assets and a value of each if possible and details of any debts. If money and budgeting is a concern for you it is a good idea to bring a list of your outgoings. Some solicitors will go through a questionnaire with you or may send this to you in advance of the meeting and ask you to complete it.

You should also make a list of questions so that you don’t forget anything. No question is silly. If you have thought of it then it is something that you want answering.

There is a lot of information to take on board and it is likely that you will not digest it all in one go. Like any important meeting, make sure therefore to take a notepad and paper with you to take notes. Even if the solicitor is going to confirm the advice in writing after the meeting this is still important as not everything the solicitor says will be in the note. It will probably be a summary.

If you don’t understand something the solicitor says to you. Ask him or her to explain it again. Don’t be afraid.

So what should be covered by the solicitor at the first meeting? Anything you want but a good divorce and family solicitor will cover the following:

  • The difference between divorce and separation and which might be better in your circumstances
  • The grounds for divorce and which is appropriate for you
  • The process and likely timescales
  • Dependent on how much information you are able to provide what sort of financial settlement you can expect
  • Any issues relating to your children such as custody or access
  • Your options for resolving finances and any children issues including mediation, collaborative law, arbitration and court proceedings
  • The likely costs of each stage and any options for payment.

And finally, what should you pay for an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer? Many people seek free initial advice and some solicitors do offer a free initial appointment. However, be careful as this could be limited in time and be only very general advice. A free half hour isn’t for example long enough to get any detailed proper advice. In my view, a better option is to pay a fixed fee for a set amount of time. This will usually be at less than the solicitor’s usual hourly rate.

In my next blog I will talk about the first stage of the divorce process and some of the difficulties that may arise.

If you need advice on any issue surrounding your divorce or breakdown of your relationship call me, Karen Weiner on 01923 521003 or email me at kjweiner@thelawhouse.com