This is an amended extract from my latest book, Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer.
The Law Society requires solicitors to inform clients about likely legal costs before the first appointment. Ensure that you are aware of your solicitor’s charge-out rate. Do not presume that your first appointment is free, unless this has been confirmed in writing.
Here is a list of questions to take to your first appointment with your new solicitor. Print this page or snap a picture of these questions on your smartphone. If you also take a notebook, you can fill out the answers there and then.
Divorce costs: the questions to ask your solicitor
- Please could you provide more detailed information about the likely divorce costs? (Note: at the first appointment you should also be asked to sign a form, to confirm that you are aware of the solicitor’s charge-out rate for the first meeting.)
- How long is this divorce likely to take?
- Who will be working on my case? How will my case be supervised?
- How often will I be billed? What are the payment terms?
- To whom do I address any complaints about your service or my case?
- How often will I come to your office, and how much of this work can be conducted via e-mail or fax?
- How often will I attend court?
- Is an alternative form of dispute resolution appropriate in my case?
- What about outside assistance? For example, are barristers, forensic accountants or other experts required?
- Are my divorce costs recoverable from my spouse?
- How can I pay my costs as the case progresses, if I don’t have the money available?
After the meeting, your solicitor should send you a note to confirm the advice you have been given, along with a client retainer letter that confirms all the housekeeping information. This note will be an aide memoir.
by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner.
This bestselling guide features checklists, case studies and FAQs alongside step-by-step explanations and easy-to-understand legal advice. Available on Kindle (£0.99) and in paperback (£5.99).
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