A divorce recognises, by law, the termination of a relationship and the end of legal responsibilities partners owe to one another. It often involves making arrangements in relation to property, children and spousal maintenance.
Divorcing a partner is a major life event and can be a stressful and emotional time for you and your family. It is therefore pertinent to choose the right divorce lawyer to represent you and guide you through this process.
1. Assess your needs
Every divorce lawyer has strengths in different areas. When choosing a divorce lawyer, you should always ask yourself – what is it that you require the lawyer to do for you? Obtaining a divorce order does not automatically determine issues relating to property, maintenance or children, therefore it is important to consider the impact your divorce may have on these aspects of your relationship.
Where there are many legal facets to your separation, you will benefit from a legal representative with experience in Family Law. It is also important to consider how you want the process resolved. There are collaborative alternatives to litigation, such as mediation, in which you have more autonomy to determine the outcome and the lawyer plays a different role. Such options are available and can be applied depending on the facts and circumstances of your matter. However, if an amicable agreement between the parties cannot be reached, you may need to consider engaging a lawyer to assist you in court proceedings.
2. Do your research
Understanding the advice you are provided with is essential and key. The core principles of advice can be a good start and the Family Court of Australia has an online resource that provides an essential guide, however there is no substitute for good legal advice.
Once you have a basic understanding of divorce law, you will be better equipped to start researching different lawyers. Factors to consider when assessing whether a lawyer is right for you include:
- Level of skill and experience (divorce is a specialised area of law so choosing someone with the right skills is essential);
- Recommendations from trusted people;
- The values of the firm the lawyer works within; and
- Any initial information regarding their approach and communication
Your research should assist you in compiling a list of lawyers you can contact. It is recommended you do not limit yourself to just researching one law firm in the event that they are not available or are not a good fit for helping you to achieve your desired outcomes.
3. Initial consultation
The next step is to arrange an initial consultation with the lawyers on your short list. This will enable you to gauge the attributes of each lawyer. At Etheringtons Solicitors, we offer a discounted rate for an initial consultation, during which you will receive preliminary advice and you will have the opportunity to better understand who your lawyer is and how they can assist you.
It is important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer as they will be assisting you through a vulnerable stage of your life and your decision may greatly impact other parties, such as grandparents and children. Therefore, personality and ease of communication is also a factor to consider.
How Etheringtons Solicitors can help
Etheringtons Solicitors can assist with your separation and divorce. If you need further advice or assistance with Family Law matters, please contact one of our experienced solicitors on (02) 9963 9800 or via our contact page.