Before meeting your divorce solicitor for the first time, you may be anxious about what to expect. Glynis Wainman, head of family law and divorce law specialist at Hancock Quins in Watford, Hertfordshire explains what will happen at the first meeting and some of the information you may want to take with you.
Should I take a friend?
Meeting your divorce lawyer in person gives you the opportunity to have a confidential discussion about your situation, without interruptions. You are welcome to bring a friend as long as you feel that you can be as honest and frank as possible with them there.
What to take to the initial case assessment meeting
It is not absolutely necessary to take anything with you to the initial case assessment appointment. However, providing as much information as possible from the outset will help your solicitor to make a clearer assessment on your situation and speed up the process. It is also a chance for you and your solicitor to assess the suitability of working together and ensure there is no conflict of interest.
You will be asked for information about:
• the date and length of your marriage;
• your income and expenditure;
• your pension, savings, investment and debts;
• the value of your home, business and other assets; and
• any correspondence received from the court or other solicitors.
What you will be asked
You will be asked for a brief history of your relationship and the reason why you want a divorce. You will need to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down, and this can be proved in one of five ways. Your lawyer will advise the best way for you, based on your evidence. If your ex is likely to object, or you do not know where they are, your lawyer can advise on strategy.
Your lawyer will also ask what you would like to achieve by way of financial settlement after the divorce. The assets of the marriage will need to be divided, and you will need to decide what will happen to the home you have shared.
Making arrangements for the children of the family
We can help you make arrangements for children of the family including where each child will live and how often they will see each parent. We can liaise with other solicitors or your spouse on your behalf if required, or signpost you to local mediation services.
We can also advise you on child maintenance payments.
Suitability for mediation or collaborative law
Your lawyer will assess the suitability of mediation or collaborative law in order to work out the arrangements for children and a financial settlement in your divorce. Both of these routes avoid expensive and lengthy court hearings and encourage you instead to stay in control of negotiations.
Advice on costs options
At Hancock Quins, we offer a range of funding options for your divorce but we do not provide Legal Aid. Your solicitor will assess your case and outline your options for costs at this initial case assessment meeting.
If you are the person applying for the divorce, you may be able to reclaim the costs of your divorce from your spouse. Other options could include securing future funding against your share of the equity in the matrimonial home, or taking out a litigation loan.
For more information about divorce, separation, financial settlements or any other family law matter, contact Glynis Wainman on 01923 650 862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice, and the law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice on their own particular circumstances.