1. Should I engage in mediation first?
Depending on your circumstances, you may feel that mediation would be an effective forum for you and your spouse to discuss key issues, such as how to split the finances on divorce. You may wish to consider engaging in one or a few mediation sessions with a trained mediator before formally choosing a divorce lawyer. Alternatively, if this does not feel right for you, you may wish to instruct a lawyer alongside these discussions to utilise both platforms to reach a settlement, or to get initial advice before starting mediation. If this is the case, we can explain the different options available to you in an initial consultation
Our partners Claire Nickolds and Rachel Woodd are trained mediators. However, bear in mind that the mediator you choose cannot then also act for you or your spouse in their capacity as a divorce lawyer as there would be a conflict of interest.
2. What are the likely costs?
One of the most important issues to consider from the outset is the potential costs involved in divorce and financial remedy proceedings. Our lawyers work on a time-spent basis, which means that we will charge according to our hourly rates plus VAT, which are based on our corresponding levels of qualification and experience. Divorce proceedings alone usually cost in the region of £750 + VAT plus the current court fee of £550, but this may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. We will try and provide you with updating costs estimates as your case progresses, and inevitably this will depend on a number of factors including the complexity of the assets involved and whether or not you are able to reach an agreement regarding the finances without having to issue court proceedings. If court proceedings prove to be necessary, we will advise you about any relevant court fees and other disbursements such as fees for a barrister to represent you in court in addition to our fees.
3. What are the benefits of choosing a lawyer who is a Resolution member?
Resolution is a large organisation of family lawyers and other professionals whose approach is centred upon dealing with family law matters in a non-confrontational and constructive way. Members of Resolution follow a ‘Code of Practice’, which emphasises the importance of dealing with matters in a balanced way considering the needs of all the family, with the best interests of the children at the forefront. The benefits of instructing a Resolution member therefore means that they will actively work to reduce conflict within a family, they will provide support and honest advice and assist you in managing the long-term emotional and financial consequences of the decisions made.
4. How important is reputation?
A firm with positive testimonials from previous clients is a good endorsement of the quality of advice and service you are likely to receive. It is important that you develop and maintain a relationship built on trust with your lawyer from the outset and therefore it is wise to carry out your research on the firm before providing your formal instruction.
Here at Jones Nickolds, we offer honest, straight-forward and practical advice. We will explain the merits of the different options available to you throughout whilst adopting a realistic and considered approach based on the individual circumstances of your case. We are recognised by the Legal 500 as a “leading firm” in family law and is “top ranked” in the 2017 Chambers Guide.
5. Personality and Approach
As a final point, it is always important to choose a solicitor whose personality you get on with and whose approach you trust and feel comfortable with. During and after any initial meeting, make sure you think about this carefully before going ahead and instructing a solicitor.