January 26, 2018
How do I find a good divorce lawyer?
Divorcing can be a challenging, stressful and emotional process. Each case is unique and though it can be possible to come to an early agreement through mediation or a negotiated settlement, cases can sometimes be more complex and require Court hearings. Even the most amicable divorce may see disputes arise when it comes to resolutions about the things that matter most – your children, your home and your financial security.
It’s therefore crucial that you find a lawyer who is able to provide you with the support and advice you need and, where necessary, to represent you in Court. The choice of who to instruct is a decision for you alone and it is important to find somebody who you feel comfortable working with in order to get the best possible outcome in your divorce.
Instructing a family barrister directly
Many people are not yet aware that it is now possible to instruct a barrister to advise or represent you during your divorce without going through a solicitor first – through what is known as the Public Access Scheme. A Public Access barrister is an expert in their field of law who specialises in advising clients and providing representation for them at Court if necessary. They can also assist in drafting documents, and their Court experience as a specialist advocate gives them the knowledge to help you to understand your options and give you realistic advice about your prospects. Our barristers can also offer you advice on mediation as well as providing the mediation service itself.
It can often be more practical and cost-effective to let a barrister handle your case directly through this public access scheme, than to use a solicitor.
Our award-winning, specialist legal Clerks are well placed to help match you with a family barrister who best fits with the demands of your case and you will be able to discuss your particular needs to make sure you find the best lawyer to represent you. You will be able to discuss the work that you require help with and agree fees in advance so that you know where you stand. However, not all cases are suitable to be handled by a Public Access Barrister, in which case we would refer you to a solicitor with the expertise you require.
How to choose a divorce lawyer
When selecting your barrister, there are a number of things you should bear in mind:
- Make sure you choose a specialist in family law. A specialist will have the relevant knowledge and experience to handle your case effectively. They will be up-to-date on changes in the law and recent pertinent rulings.
- Ensure you feel comfortable with your barrister. The divorce process could take a number of months or it could take much longer – so it is essential you have the right person supporting you. At the initial consultation, pay attention to whether the barrister listens carefully to your information and concerns, whether you are comfortable opening up to them and whether you feel confident in their abilities. And if you would prefer a male or female barrister to take on your case, make sure you state this when you first speak to the clerk.
- Find out what other people are saying about them. Read testimonials from former clients to give you an idea of the barrister’s experience and take into account any relevant legal accreditations. Our practice is graded Tier 2 on the Chambers & Partners Legal 500 list – a prestigious ranking system which provides a clients’ guide to the best law firms in the UK. We’re very proud of this ranking, which underlines the superb reputation of our practice.
- Allow plenty of time. Barristers’ diaries get filled up well in advance with court bookings, so approach the lawyer of your choice in good time to allow them to consider your papers and advise you accordingly. This will ensure you are dealing with someone you are comfortable with and confident about, rather than someone who is available to work with you at the last minute.
- Ask lots of questions at the initial meeting. A good barrister will appreciate this approach. Ask us about our practice and experience. Think about what you want from your barrister – whether you need mediation, advice on your case, answers to a technical question, or representation in court
What do I do now?
Choosing a lawyer is a very personal choice. You need to have the utmost trust and confidence in the person advising and/or representing you as they try to make the process as straightforward and stress-free as possible for you.
If you are ready to start the process of instructing a divorce lawyer, read our simple step-by-step guide then get in touch with our clerks in our central Brighton office who will be able to advise you on what to do next.
By Anita Mehta | Divorce and Finance