A guide to choosing a divorce solicitor

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A guide to choosing a divorce solicitor

When I do the same as you and search the internet for divorce websites I am concerned and confused at what I find.

I can read the subtleties of what the website owners say and do not say. Some appear to be ready to give all sorts of advice and offer various divorce services but these services are being offered by people who are not solicitors. This is no doubt perfectly legitimate but how helpful can they be to you?

As a solicitor who has spent the last 25 years helping and representing clients in front of Judges in the divorce court system then I wonder at the differences in the detailed guidance and advice these non-lawyers can offer. Choosing a good divorce solicitor or family lawyer is getting harder not easier.

You can easily find the law set out on the internet but you really ought to have it interpreted and applied to your specific circumstances.

If I want specialist advice and services for something important in my life then I go to the appropriately qualified professional such as a dentist or optician or accountant. I therefore thought it would be helpful to pass on some tips in being able to identify the various indicators that show you have found a Solicitor (who is a Solicitor!) who specialises in divorce and has the appropriate experience. I hope you find this guide helpful so you can make the right searches and ask the right questions or look for what information some of the internet divorce ‘experts’ have missing from their website about their real experience, qualifications and commitment to helping separating couples.

Guidance for choosing a divorce solicitor

  • A Solicitor will be registered with the Law Society and is registered and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Ask or search www.lawsociety.org.uk or www.sra.org.uk
  • A Solicitor’s advice is covered by insurance called Professional Indemnity Insurance. Ask if your “adviser” has such insurance.
  • Divorce and family law are very different areas of law and so most professional specialist divorce lawyers (about 6,000) are members of Resolution which is a national group of such family lawyers who abide by a Code of Practice to conduct such work in a non confrontational way. Ask or search www.resolution.org.uk
  • Resolution has its own panel of “Accredited Specialist Family Lawyers” where such a family lawyer will be a specialist in usually two areas of family law. Ask or search www.resolution.org.uk
  • Some specialist family lawyers are members of the Law Society’s Family Law Panel. Ask or search www.lawsociety.org.uk
  • Most forward thinking family lawyers are nowadays qualified Collaborative Lawyers who offer constructive divorce and separation with dignity (see my page on Collaborative Law) and you can find such collaborative lawyers at www.resolution.org.uk or www.collaborativepractice.com
  • It is not essential but it shows whether the family specialist you are consulting is serious about offering all the options to their clients by also being a Family Mediator.
  • Ask or search at www.thefma.co.uk or www.resolution.org.uk or www.lawsociety.org.uk
  • Experience is not everything but it helps particularly years spent in advocacy in court given how unpredictable the courts are what different Judges will decide. Ask.
  • Advocacy court experience and specialism: Resolution have a Panel of ‘Accredited Specialist Family Lawyers’ and some family lawyers take the option passing the ‘advocacy’ specialisms. Ask or search www.resolution.org.uk
  • Many family lawyers try to shape the development of how family disputes get resolved or work to improve how the family justice system works. Ask if your lawyer is on any national bodies or committees.
  • Word of mouth recommendations can be helpful but also look at testimonials from former clients or how your family lawyer is viewed by their peers.
  • Do they offer helpful information and guidance on their website.
  • Remember that just like choosing a dentist or doctor then choosing a divorce solicitor is a very personal choice and you need to have trust and confidence in your lawyer because you need to be able to trust and rely upon the legal advice.
  • Sometimes you may find you do not have trust in your solicitor. If in fact you have lost confidence in your solicitor then you may have to consider whether to move to another family lawyer. At least you now have more of a chance of getting it right.
  • Just phone the family lawyer you have chosen and listen to how comfortable you feel and how confident you are in them.
  • Check out my experience and qualifications in ‘About’ and ‘Who I am’ and my ethos for helping divorcing and separating couples make informed decisions and find constructive, effective and cost-efficient solutions to resolve their family disputes.

I hope you have found these tips helpful so you can find a divorce solicitor who can give qualified and experienced legal advice on which you can rely, or you could just take pot luck on the internet.

For further advice and guidance on on choosing a divorce solicitor:

Call me: 01223 421 051
or email me duaneplant@dmfl.co.uk

Duane Plant
Divorce Solicitor, Family Lawyer and Collaborative Lawyer and trainer
Divorce, Mediation and Family Law

You’ll find I am happy to answer all the above questions!! Check me out with your own searches or look at my ‘About‘ page and my ‘Who I am‘ page on this website.

About Duane Plant

Duane is a Cambridge Divorce Solicitor, Family Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer and trainer who is passionate about changing the way families experience divorce and separation. Duane gives constructive advice so you can divorce with dignity. Connect with Duane on Google+

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