If this is your first divorce then making that first call to a divorce solicitor for divorce advice can be a little daunting. First of all you are calling someone you don’t know and telling them some very private details of your personal life and marriage, and second of all – what do you ask them? How do you know they are going to be the right choice for you?
There is a lot you can tell about a person by your initial phone conversation with them. You will find after speaking with a few different solicitors you can narrow down your list of ‘maybes’ considerably.
First of all you need to know who to call for divorce advice. Start by asking trusted family and friends for any recommendations. We all know someone that has been through a divorce and their advice can be very helpful at this time. Put these recommendations at the top of your list so far. Now look online or through your phone book for a few other solicitors to add to your list of potential representatives.
Before you pick up the phone and call to make an appointment, get out a pen and paper and make a list of questions and other information you want to discuss with them. On your list you should consider things like:
What is your experience with divorce and family law?
What has your success been like in these cases?
How much time do you have available to devote to my case?
Discuss any urgent temporary arrangements – e.g child custody
Will they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate?
What costs other than their fee are involved in a divorce? e.g filing fees etc
How much of my time will need to be devoted to the case?
See if they can provide you with a detailed list of what you should bring and have prepared for your first face to face consultation.
Some solicitors will prefer to handle these questions face to face, which is fine. If they are unable to help you over the phone then you can make an appointment to meet with them. Often, and as should be the case, this initial consultation should be free of charge – but always check this when making the appointment. Let all the solicitors know that you are in the process of deciding on the right legal representative and have not made a firm decision. They should appreciate you being up front and won’t waste their time preparing documents etc until they know they’ve been hired.
After you’ve had the initial phone or face to face consultation then it is time to decide on the solicitor you think best answered your questions, and with who you felt comfortable and at ease with. Out of common courtesy contact the other solicitors to advise you have chosen another legal representative this time.