It is extremely likely, and advisable, that you will use a legal professional during your Divorce.
Unfortunately, Lawyers are expensive, they use a lot of Jargon and they are generally very busy.
So when you see one, you won't have much time, you will need to pay a lot for it and you may struggle to fully understand what they mean.
Additionally, the consequences of rushing or screwing up the legals will linger for a very long time in your life.
Over the next few Blogs I'll cover the basics of dealing with Lawyers.
So what is important when choosing the lawyer for you?
Get the right sort.
You'll always be better off with a Family Law specialist. The guy you use to check your contracts, sort your HR issues at work or process property settlements is not the one to use for your divorce.
There are legal firms whose entire staff specialise in Family Law. If you have some of them in town, check them out.
Overall it's pretty hard to go past word of mouth. Ask around. Find people who have been through it before and listen.
Get one you like.
Personalities are important and you won't always be feeling happy when you're talking to them.
If you want a man, ask for one. Don't get 6 months down the track and begin to feel that the female lawyer you're dealing with has a conflict of interests because she's a she.
When you first meet them, if you feel uncomfortable, or you don't like the way they communicate with you (or if they were simply too hurried and you couldn't understand what they meant) - Keep Looking ! At least you know more about what you want in a lawyer now!
You will need to feel comfortable and trust them, for your own sake. Listen to yourself on this one.
Get the cost.
If your Lawyer is charging you more than the minimum rates as set out in the Family Law Rules (which they almost always will be), they are required to give you a written cost agreement to sign.
If you don't understand it, don't sign it - ask. They are supposed to be in plain language, so they are clear for the client.
Typically it will be a list of hourly rates for various partners and personnel in the firm, as well as any extras.
Don't forget - You're the boss - If you are not happy with your lawyer it is quite acceptable to switch firms. Just remember, you'll need your bill paid before they'll release your file to someone else !!