How to Keep Your Costs Down When Using a Solicitor
In the worst-case scenario that you do not qualify for an online divorce service, in that you simply cannot agree with your partner on the terms of your divorce, then unfortunately you may have to use the services of a solicitor. In this eventuality, it is worth knowing how to deal with solicitors to ensure that you can keep your costs as low as possible.
Get very clear on the solicitors costs
First and foremost, when you meet with solicitors, find out exactly what their costs are likely to be. Do not feel embarrassed to ask about money. A solicitor’s number one objective is to make money for their firm. In all law firms, employees are required to bill a certain number of hours per month, and all of the large firms set individual annual targets. Some solicitors will offer a fixed price. Others will bill in minutes or hours.
Get recommendations where possible and speak to several solicitors to find out how they would approach your situation. Their approach and personality need to match your strategy. It’s no good hiring a super aggressive solicitor if you plan to reach a mutually acceptable compromise with your spouse.
Ask the solicitor how long they think it will take to resolve your situation and get an estimate of the cost. It is critical to understand the costs and how long the whole process will take in order to avoid any nasty surprises. Remember, whatever estimate they give you is likely to be at the low end of the range.
There will be additional costs for administrative tasks such as printing and photocopying, so make sure you receive a complete list of charges and ask them for the total estimated price based on your situation.
Decide on your divorce strategy before meeting the solicitor
Set out from the start to keep your legal costs as low as possible. Beginning with the end in mind will help you make the right decisions and hopefully avoid unnecessary and costly arguments. Tell your solicitor that this is your objective; a good solicitor will respect this and advise you if you start to deviate from your plan.
In whatever capacity you choose to employ a solicitor, make sure that you maximise the time you have with them. Prepare for the meetings in advance, making sure to list all the points that you want to discuss and any details you want to share. Their time is valuable, so you don’t want to leave a meeting only to find that you have missed something. Do not use your solicitor to vent your frustration. They are simply there to give you legal advice. Use your friends and other networks for emotional support. This approach will be much cheaper.
Be clear on next steps and responsibilities
In the meeting, take notes and summarise the key points and the next steps. Provide any additional documents the solicitor requests as soon as possible and agree with them on who will be responsible for which parts of the proceedings.
If you are still not sure if you need to use an expensive solicitor, you can read our article on the difference between traditional solicitors and online divorce services here.