For many people the whole thought of visiting a divorce lawyer to deal with the termination of your marriage and the emotional impact that this has all brought to you, will seem like a mountain to climb. However, if you pick the correct lawyer, the first meeting will allow you to establish whether you can build a rapport with them and whether you can work together through one of the most difficult periods of your life.
Before going to see a divorce lawyer, you should enquire as to their hourly rate and how long the first appointment normally will take. The simple answer to this is that they will take between 1 – 2 hours if your divorce lawyer is going to do a proper job.
When coming to see your divorce lawyer, for the first time, it really is prudent for you to draw up a list of questions that you would like to ask. These should include the following:-
- Who will be dealing with my divorce?
- What are the likely costs of the divorce? What options are available to me?
- If I want to petition for divorce, what ground should I go on given that the no faults divorce has not yet come into British law?
- Will it make a difference by the ground I petition under on the financial settlement?
- Should my petition be anodyne in nature facing the risk that it may be rejected by the Court, or more severe?
- If I wish to petition on the basis of unreasonable behaviour, what kind of particulars should I put into my petition. Is there any bar to me proceeding on that ground?
- If I wish to petition on the grounds of my husband’s adultery what do I have to show and demonstrate to prove this? Are there are time limits to this that would prejudice me?
- How will Capital Gains Tax affect me if I have been separated from my husband for several years? If you cannot assist me as my lawyer, who can help me with these kind of questions?
- In relation to finances, what are the various options available to me and which would you recommend having heard the circumstances of my matter?
- Must I always go through mediation with my partner, or is this something that is only an option available?
- If I do choose to go into mediation, is it binding and if I don’t like what is being said by the mediator do I have to follow what they are saying, or can I remove myself from the mediation process? What is the impact of this?
- If I do not wish to go to mediation in the first instance, what other methods can bring disclosure on the part of my spouse? Can you explain this process?
- I have heard about arbitration. Can you appeal against this? If not, is this something you would recommend?
- I have heard about collaborative law. Can you explain how this works and whether this would be suitable in my case?
- If your advice is to go to Court, can you please explain the process and the various costs at each stage of this?
- Can matters be dealt with without me having to go to the Court at any stage?
- If you produce a schedule of your assets to the lawyer they may not be able to instantly advise you as to the settlement, but may be able to give you an idea of parameters. Your question then should be given that these are the assets in the case, subject to disclosure, what would be the likely outcome.
- At what time should I start to negotiate with my spouse? Is this something I should do without my solicitor, or should it be done through the solicitor only?
- In relation to my children, what is the average of seeing the children by my spouse taking into account the ages of the children?
- If I do not wish my husband to see the children, what can be done about this?
- If my husband wishes to see the children more than is being suggested, how can I go about this?
- Can you explain applications for Child Arrangements Orders i.e. seeing my children, the cost of these, how long they will take and what would be the likely outcome?
- If I have entered into a pre-nuptial agreement, what impact will this have on my settlement? You should of course produce the pre-nuptial agreement for them to properly advise as to its impact. You should be ready to provide details of when and how this agreement was signed and how long before the wedding and whether any pressure was brought to bear upon you.
- What kind of settlement should I expect to get? Will it be all capital, or part capital, part income? How are these things determined? How long will my maintenance last for? How long will the maintenance for the children last for and what am I likely to get?
There are many aspects to a divorce which in essence include the divorce itself, the financial settlement, all aspects relating to that and children. A good lawyer will be prepared to answer each of these questions in turn at length and give you a very good idea of exactly how the divorce, children and financial aspects of your matter will work.