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"Do I need a divorce solicitor?"
Alongside “How much will divorce cost?” this is one of the most frequent questions I get asked.
We at Relationship Breakthrough Coach can't tell you what is best for you so we asked a family law specialist, just for you.
This article is kindly contributed by Karen Weiner, Divorce Solicitor & Specialist Family Lawyer
The fact is, experienced family lawyers are experts and in the same way that you would see a doctor, dentist, vet or accountant for expert advice you should also see a family lawyer if you are separating or divorcing. Yes it will cost you but even if the separation or divorce is amicable you will want to make sure that your interests are completely protected and also that all court paperwork is in order. For example, I have had clients who have done a “DIY” divorce. They have got as far as applying for decree nisi only to find that the application is rejected because there is an error in the Petition. This can be costly and time consuming – the Petition may need to be amended and then would have to be re-served on the other party. Some solicitors will offer a “document checking” service similar to the passport checking service provided by the Post Office which is cheaper than the solicitor acting for you.
Similarly even if you have reached a financial settlement with the other party it is always worth running this by a solicitor to ensure you haven’t missed anything and also getting it drawn up into a proper agreement/order so that it represents a full and final settlement and you are protected.
The perception is often that solicitors increase costs rather than seek to limit them. As with any trade or profession there are some unscrupulous solicitors but most family solicitors will seek to protect your interests in the most cost effective way.
If your divorce solicitor does this then you can make an informed decision at each stage as to what you want to do and the likely outcome and act accordingly.
Of course there will always be situations when it is difficult to limit the costs for example if the other party is difficult and unreasonable or won’t engage in the process. However you can yourself help to limit the costs. Remember:
- You are relying on your solicitor for legal advice and guidance. Do not use your solicitor as an emotional crutch. That is what coaches, counsellors and friends are for
- Listen to your solicitor's advice and don’t ask them to push arguments or issues that are unreasonable
- All emails/telephone calls are usually chargeable even if they are routine so limit your contact with your solicitor if necessary
- Try and focus on the bigger issues and not the small ones
Remember, it is your divorce not your solicitors!
Karen Weiner is a specialist divorce and family lawyer with The Law House. With over 20 years experience Karen advises on a wide range of family law issues. Karen is a Resolution accredited specialist in the areas of complex financial and property matters and private children law issues.
You can contact Karen on 01923 521003 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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