Monday, May 5, 2008

Finding a Lawyer

It is a good idea to see a solicitor before starting to negotiate a financial settlement, arrangements for children or divorce to find out where you stand and your options. Although Scots law encourages pre-court settlements procedures and rules are such it is not possible to just read them to understand so unless there are no finances to sort out or no children under 16 a lawyer is going to be required at some point . I would strongly recommend finding a solicitor who is committed to non confrontational forms of dispute resolution such as mediation or collaborative law. The Family Law Association of Scotland has a database of family law specialists accessible here.

Hint: Costs can be kept down to a minimum by using your lawyer efficiently through;

(a) maintaining realistic expectations

(b) being organised and keeping to the point

(c) producing information in a timely manner

(d) not using your lawyer as a counsellor


Anonymous,  06 May, 2008 21:56  

Hi, I wholly disagree with you that a solicitor should be consulted before financial matters are agreed, particularly where children are involved. In my experience once solicitors are appointed the situation escalates and the solicitor will act in his/her client's best interests, not taking into account the interests of the child/children.
It is always best to try to agree financial matters and only involve a solicitor to finalise that agreement. It'll save you a packet in fees and will keep the hostility between the parties to a minimum. Things only got really grotty between my now ex-husband and I once we each appointed a solicitor.

Fiona 06 May, 2008 23:05  

Sorry to hear you had a bad experience.

I'm all in favour of divorcing couples making their own arrangements, but the problem is if you don't see a solicitor initially how can you negotiate not knowing where you stand with regard to Parental Rights and Responsibilities, or what constitutes matrimonial property, how to value assets or the legal principles for sharing them?

Even if people then decide to go it alone after the first visit to a solicitor they will at least have an idea where they stand which will hopefully stop them agreeing something they regret later and the animosity that withdrawing may cause.

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