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Osborne Morris & Morgan > News and Articles > Family > How to Prepare For Your First Meeting With Your Divorce Solicitor

How to Prepare For Your First Meeting With Your Divorce Solicitor


Posted on 31 Mar 2016, in Family
 

first meeting divorce solicitor

In our previous article “Thinking of Getting a Divorce? Consider These 5 Key Things First” we talked about the challenges that a marriage can encounter and suggested some questions to ask yourself before starting divorce proceedings.

If, after reading the article, you still feel that divorce is the next step for you then it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for your first meeting with your divorce solicitor. Being properly prepared will help make the most productive use of your solicitor’s time (and your money).

Booking Your Initial Consultation with Your Divorce Solicitor

When booking your appointment make sure you think about your journey times, as well as the time you will spend with the solicitor. That way you’ll ensure you get the most out of your consultation without having to leave early.

We also recommend that you don’t bring your child(ren) to the meeting. They can make it difficult for you to focus on what’s being said, and adult issues are going to be discussed that aren’t always appropriate for them to hear.

It’s normal to feel anxious or emotional, and you may want to bring a friend or relative with you. As well as providing emotional support, they can also be an extra set of ears.

Before your meeting, find out the cost of the initial consultation and ask if there is anything specific you need to bring along (see our suggested list below). Also, check to see if your solicitor has a questionnaire to fill in, as doing this in advance will save time at the appointment.

Once you know everything the solicitor requires from you, it’s important to have a good idea of what you’re hoping to get from the meeting. Write down a list of questions that you can refer to. While most may be covered by the solicitor as standard, many clients find having a list helpful.

We understand that the first meeting with your legal advisor is an important step. You’ll have lots of questions and almost as many anxieties! We hope the following frequently asked questions we’re asked by clients who are looking to start divorce proceedings will help you feel better prepared for that initial meeting.

What Questions Should I Ask My Divorce Solicitor?

What Will a Divorce Cost Me?

A definite cost is extremely difficult to provide, as it varies depending on the level of conflict between you and your spouse, and the reasonableness of your spouse and his/her solicitor.

However, your solicitor should be able to give you an estimate of what your costs will be, whether you’ll be billed at an hourly rate or flat fee for getting the divorce finalised and the cost of any court fees or any other fees (which are referred to as disbursements).

How Will We Communicate?

Confirm if your solicitor would rather be contacted by phone or email, and how long you should expect to wait for a response.

How Long Will the Divorce Take?

Ask your lawyer what their estimated timescales for finalising the divorce are if you:

  • settle quickly
  • settle after protracted negotiations
  • have a trial

What Should I Take to My First Meeting With My Divorce Solicitor?

As well as your list of questions, there are a number of documents and information you need to take to the meeting.

It’s not essential you have them all but the more prepared you are, the more productive your use of your solicitor’s time (and your money) is.

Checklist for Your First Divorce Solicitor Meeting:

  1. Full name, address, phone number and date of birth for you and your spouse.
  2. Names, dates of birth and school details for your children (including all children in your home regardless of whether they are from this marriage or not).
  3. Your marriage certificate/Civil Partnership certificate. Be mindful of the impact this may have if your partner realises it’s gone and is not aware you’re looking for preliminary advice. A certified copy can be obtained from the Register of Births Deaths and Marriages local to your place of marriage.
  4. Employment details, including earnings.
  5. Estimate of property value (sites like http://www.ourproperty.co.uk/ and http://www.zoopla.co.uk/ can help you see what your property may be worth, based on similar properties recently sold on your street).
  6. Remaining value of any mortgages/loans on the property, and the lenders details.
  7. Details of any other assets including savings and pensions.
  8. Details of any other debts including credit and store cards.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it does cover the basic information your solicitor will require. Don’t worry if you don’t have all this information at the first meeting as it can be provided later. However, the more information you can give to your solicitor, the more detailed their advice will be.

Further things to consider preparing include:

  1. A snapshot of your current outgoings to give your solicitor an idea of your current lifestyle and financial situation.
  2. A snapshot of your current outgoings to give your solicitor an idea of your current lifestyle and financial situation.
  3. If you and your spouse have already separated, provide a brief summary including the date and circumstances.
  4. If you or your spouse have been married previously then details about the divorce and any court orders that may have been made between you are helpful.
  5. Bring any paperwork that shows particular financial contributions you have made. These could include a completion statement from the sale of a previous home or documents showing an inheritance.

(Please note we have a copy of the checklist available here for you to download.)

Remember, when giving paperwork to your solicitor make sure it’s in date order, in appropriate sections and in a file. This will make is quicker for them to deal with, and therefore helps save you some money.

 

How we can help


Since this article has been published we no longer offer Family Law services but we can help you with:

 

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