There are many divorce legal advice websites on the internet appearing to offer you the fastest ‘quickie’ divorce solution possible, but are they actually leading you to the best family lawyer in the UK (in your local area) for you? Perhaps not. Here are various checks to be made and points to consider before your find the right family/divorce solicitor:-
- Do you need a family law solicitor (a term interchangeable with family lawyer, divorce lawyer, family solicitor and various others)? If you’re going to separate from or divorce your partner then you do need a solicitor, ideally one specialising in family law. For instance, if you need to agree and sign a separation agreement, both parties will need their own solicitor to represent and advise them on the consequences.
- Is the solicitor registered with the Law Society (England & Wales) and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) or registered with the Law Society of Scotland (Scotland)? They should be. Note that divorce law/practice in Scotland and England is different – an initial note on the subject can be found here.
- Are they specialist family law solicitors? There’s nothing wrong with choosing a generalist solicitor, but your interests are more likely to be protected if you choose an accredited family law solicitor. In England & Wales, see The Law Society’s website here and again for Scotland see the Law Society of Scotland’s website here. See also the Resolution website to find Accredited Specialist Family Lawyers. Family law practices like Slater & Gordon and Stowe Family Law or Wooley & Co will have such accredited specialists and there will be many more.
- Are they members of Resolution? Over 6,000 specialist divorce lawyers are members of Resolution in the UK. As per their website, “Resolution’s 6,500 members are family lawyers and other professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes. Our members follow a Code of Practice that promotes a non-confrontational approach to family problems. Our members encourage solutions that consider the needs of the whole family – and in particular the best interests of children.”
- Is there such a thing as a ‘quickie divorce’ and what are the costs of hiring a family lawyer? The answer is that it depends. The ‘DIY – do it yourself’ route of paying £37 or whatever really low rates are on offer will usually just cover the basic paperwork, but not the court costs nor the costs of sorting out financial or child care arrangements. For a straight-forward uncontested divorce where both parties will cooperate fully, the legal cost can be in the region of several hundred pounds but it won’t be immediate – it will take time to go through the relevant legal processes and will usually take around 5-8 months to complete. And if it’s contested and where there are finances are children involved, it can be much higher and the timescales much longer potentially. A note about expensive family lawyers – you may not want a high flying London city family lawyer representing you if you live well outside of London and don’t have the budget or circumstances to require one. Then again, you may have to protect your own interests so much that you’d do whatever it takes to get the best possible legal representation. Having said that, various family law firms will offer fixed fees or hourly rates – it’s best to get as much information about their fees upfront first to avoid any later hidden surprises.
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