Solicitors are not a requirement at any stage of the divorce process, but their input can be invaluable depending on your circumstances. In general, if you think you might encounter disagreements with your spouse about things like assets and children, then seeking the advice of a divorce solicitor could be the best choice to help settle your differences.
The Divorce: Contested
When making the decision as to whether or not you should be hiring a solicitor, you should firstly consider whether or not your spouse is likely to agree with the terms that have been set out in the divorce petition. If your partner will contest them, you should suggest mediation as a means to resolve your issues before either of you hire a solicitor.
Mediation is the process whereby an independent third-party meets with both of you and your partner, encouraging you to discuss your disagreements and negotiate between yourselves without the involvement of solicitors. The mediator will not take sides and aims to provide a fair and reasonable assessment of your current situation, while perhaps suggesting improvements that can be beneficial to both parties. The advantage of a mediator is often that they are less costly and take less time to reach a solution than solicitors, however, on the other hand, their legal scope is narrower than a solicitor’s and they may not be able to legally advise you on certain matters.
After mediation, if you and your spouse still cannot agree, a solicitor is the right choice. They will negotiate, directly with your spouse’s solicitor if they have one, to reach an agreement for you. Solicitors will usually be able to come to some form of final compromise, after which they take it to court and make it legally binding. However, if your solicitors also cannot agree, it may be left up to the court to make the decision(s) for you.
The Divorce: Uncontested
An uncontested divorce is one where both partners agree with each other without any arguments regarding assets or children. These types of divorces are generally a lot faster, less stressful and less costly than contested ones since you do not have to pay a solicitor’s fees. In these cases, a solicitor is generally not necessary, although it might be still be beneficial seek advice and hire a solicitor simply for legal advice, rather than to negotiate on your behalf.
The Solicitor: How To Find One
It is also wise to discuss fees well in advance, before any consultations or work has been carried out by the solicitor. Different solicitors have different ways of charging their clients and you should make sure these are outlined and clarified early on. Contact us to find out how we can assist with divorce.
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