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By: Jamie Simpson
Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience for everyone concerned. Hopefully, it's a mutual decision and both parties will act reasonably to conclude the divorce with the minimum of aggravation. Whatever the circumstances behind your divorce, it is likely that the services of a solicitor will be required. There are several factors to consider when choosing and appointing a solicitor. Giving a little consideration to these factors can make the entire process progress more smoothly.

By far the best way to choose a solicitor is via word of mouth from a trusted friend. A friend who has successfully been through a similar experience will be able to give you an impartial recommendation. If this is not possible, then following a few simple guidelines should make the selection process easier.

You are likely to be discussing very personal aspects of your life with your solicitor, so he or she should be someone you feel comfortable with. Consider whether you would be more comfortable working with a male or female solicitor. An initial meeting, ideally free and with no obligation, is your chance to chat face to face with your prospective solicitor to see if you feel comfortable talking to them. If you don't feel relaxed and confident in their abilities, don't be afraid to decline their offer of services and look for an alternative.

By law, solicitors have to be qualified. This doesn't mean, however, that all are equally experienced. Be sure to search for a solicitor with extensive experience of handling divorce cases. Not only will this give you peace of mind, it will also make for a smoother and more efficient handling of your divorce. Many solicitors will specialise in divorce cases, but it's still worth checking how much experience they - personally, not just their firm - have.

It is possible that you will need to spend some time in person with your solicitor, even although most communication may be done via email and telephone. Make sure that your he or she is going to be available to meet when required, and that they are not too far away. Having met them initially, you should know you will be comfortable dealing with them and, quite possibly, discussing detailed family affairs.

Finally price is likely to be a factor in your decision, but it should not be the overriding one. Make sure any costs and charging policies are discussed up front. If money is tight, paying in instalments is one way to help with cash flow. It may even be possible to agree a fixed fee in certain circumstances, but check the small print for any exceptions.

With a little thought up front it should be possible to complete your divorce in the minimum time with the minimum fuss - then enjoy looking forward and moving on with your life.


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