How do you prepare for the first meeting with your divorce solicitor?
These can be difficult meetings. Going through a relationship breakdown is never easy. Things maybe difficult at home, or you might be unsure about the relationship. On the other hand you need to make sure you get as much as possible out of the meeting.
The main thing is that you feel comfortable with your solicitor, and you are on the same wavelength. Even if they are giving you advice you might not want to hear, you need to feel able to talk openly with the solicitor, and that you understand each other.
Here are a few tips for preparing for and getting the best out of seeing a solicitor:
- shop around and ask for recommendations – does your solicitor offer a range of ways to resolve your case such as mediation or collaborative law, as well as traditional litigation?
- prepare a list of key events and dates of the relationship, a summary of your financial position to get the most out of the meeting. Don’t worry about this too much or overthink it – at the first meeting the solicitor will only need a rough overview of the finances – but just thinking ahead means you will get more out of the meeting. Have a look here at our standard form for new clients – this isn’t homework, so you don’t have to complete it! But it can help you understand what we need to know.
- bring a friend to the meeting if you feel it would help – often they will remember more of the advice, especially if you are feeling a bit stressed;
- an experienced family lawyer will not be shocked by anything you have to say, or judge you, and everything is kept confidential, so feel free to discuss anything of concern; but
- remember that your lawyer is there to give you advice about a fair settlement, not to take the role of your primary emotional support. A good family lawyer will be sympathetic and understanding, but will recommend counsellors or coaches to help you through emotional side of the process so that when you are with your lawyer, you can focus on the practical side and not run up additional costs.
- prepare a list of key questions before the meeting. Usually we find we cover all of these points anyway, but it’s still a good idea.
Going to see a does not start you on an unstoppable conveyor belt of divorce. Many people simply want advice on their options. This helps them decide what to do next. We are very happy to see people for one-off meetings, and offer an initial meeting for a fixed fee of £120 (which includes vat i.e. £100 plus vat). These meetings usually last for about an hour, and allow us to find out about your situation and advise you about the law and the options available to you.
Posted by Peter