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How To Choose A Good Divorce Lawyer

Richelle Hampton, Divorce Consultant | 14 October 2012

Australian lawyer stock photo

If you are planning to end your marriage... is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible

If you are planning to end your marriage, have instigated the separation or it has been initiated by your partner, it is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible. The legal process of divorce is not always straightforward and can involve a number of complications. If you do not find out your legal rights and responsibilities to adequately protect yourself the results can be extremely detrimental.

Seeking legal advice does not necessarily mean you are beginning the costly process of litigation. It is about acquiring information and educating yourself, regardless of how your matter proceeds. Understanding your rights and responsibilities will help you to avoid costly mistakes that can affect your wellbeing for many years to come.

Even if you and your former partner are able to agree on how you will divide your property and/or the arrangements for your children it is still essential to discuss your situation with a lawyer to ensure you are receiving the best outcome possible for you and your family.

One of the dilemmas many people encounter when faced with separation and divorce is finding the right lawyer. You may receive recommendations from various sources and these can be great in finding a competent lawyer; however, keep in mind, even though a particular lawyer may have been right for someone else, this does not necessarily mean their particular style or manner will suit you.

It is important to ensure you engage a lawyer who is right for you.

Not only do you need to consider their professional skills but you need to consider whether the personality match is right as well.

The rest of your life begins here, so it is important to be very sure about who is the best fit for you.

Interviewing a lawyer

When determining which lawyer is right for you, during the initial meeting consider the lawyer's style, character, their overview of your matter and the way the lawyer behaves towards you. Sometimes it may be necessary to interview several lawyers before you get a sense of who best suits your needs. Also consider who you would feel most comfortable discussing your private matters with. Would you prefer a male or female lawyer, someone older or younger, or someone the same age?

It is important to be prepared for the meeting. Take a notepad to document any relevant points the lawyer makes. At the time of arranging the interview check with the lawyer as to what information they will require and arrive prepared.

An example of questions to ask the lawyer:

How to choose a lawyer
  • Are they an accredited family law specialist?
  • What specific documentation and information will be required?
  • What are your options and the risks involved with any legal action?
  • Are there other alternatives besides litigation to resolve your matter?
  • What is their view on litigation versus these alternative methods? If you don't want to battle it out in court you need to ascertain what view the lawyer takes.
  • What issues in your case could be difficult? (Complicated issues pertaining to business evaluations, searching for sources of income, arrangements for your children, and abuse are just some of the factors that could make a case more difficult to handle);
  • Don't hesitate to ask the lawyer to explain anything further if you do not understand something
  • It is essential that you do not sign or agree to anything you do not understand.

It is important to follow certain business principles when interviewing a lawyer. During the meeting listen carefully and take notes in relation to your particular circumstances for future reference.

Also take note of the relationship between you and the lawyer. After all, you'll be spending a lot of time together in the ensuing months. Does the lawyer spend time explaining things clearly? Does the lawyer listen well, understand your needs and address your questions and concerns?

It is important that both you and your lawyer feel you can work together and for you to feel at ease. Your lawyer will be your partner and guide throughout your separation and divorce process. It is essential to feel comfortable and to trust them.

Richelle Hampton
Divorce Consultant Divorce Navigation

This article contains only general information, correct at the date of publication. For advice regarding your own personal circumstances, always seek individual advice from a qualified professional. Read the full Disclaimer here

Read more exclusive Family Law articles

What does it mean to be a single mum?Of course, the


are the most important thing in a single mum's life. Kids are the focus and always have been. But along with the children, there are other matters that can confuse a single mum's life.


plays a big part of a single mother's life, mainly because this is where a large percentage of single mums get their finances from. Centrelink are the source from where the

single mother pension

, or as it is otherwise known, the single parent payment comes from. The single mother pension is a subsistence amount, but just the same, it is money to live on, and so it is important, no matter if it is called single parent payment, single mother pension or whatever Centrelink welfare classes it at the time

Often, single mums come out of a


or defacto relationship only to find that their troubles have just begun, and find that their first step leads them towards Family Law - it's time to engage a lawyer.
There are more than just Centrelink finance problems to worry about, as mentioned before, but also

child custody

issues. Child custody is something that hits right at the heart of

single mums

. If a single mother's ex husband or ex partner has been a domestic violence perpetrator, the mum may be greatly worried about child custody. They worry that their kids won't be safe with their spouse, who has already proven to be abusive because they caused

domestic violence

, which resulted in a divorce or separation.

Even so,

Family Court

will often still order a form of child custody named

Shared Parenting

. Shared Parenting is a form of child custody division of time or parental responsibility between the parents. Mother's often look for a good divorce lawyer to try to avoid share parenting with an abusive ex-spouse after divorce, however in many cases Shared Parenting is still the outcome after the divorce, no matter how good the divorce lawyers have been. They will often settle for visitation at a contact centre or access centre where fathers or mothers are supervised during child custody access.

Please remember the bigger font words,because we will use it often in our website.