When considering a divorce lawyer, it is important to remember that the quicker an Application for Divorce is granted, the quicker you can move on with that part of your life in a healthy and meaningful way.
Whilst it is common to hear the use of the word Divorce in the American context, Divorce in Australia means something quite different. An Application for Divorce relates purely to the ending of a marriage, and does not seek to address parenting, property or maintenance aspects of the relationship or family.
A successful Divorce Application will result in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia making an Order that will have the effect of terminating a marriage but in no way addresses the care arrangements for Children or the division of property and finances.
So, what should you be looking for in a good divorce lawyer and what are some of the questions to ask yourself so that you can make an informed decision?
Is my divorce lawyer experienced and knowledgeable?
You would think that this is a given, right? A divorce lawyer with experience managing divorces on behalf of their clients. But there is more to it than that.
To double check their experience and knowledge, you could consider the types of cases they have worked on in the past and whether they have experience managing cases similar to yours so as to advise you accordingly. This applies particularly when there are children under the age of 18 or there is difficulty in effecting service of the Application for Divorce. These matters will require additional advice than the standard application, including completing the Application for Divorce and any other additional documents required. This is to avoid your matter having to be heard before the Court on more than one occasion.
Divorce Applications are administrative in nature, and there are specific legislative requirements the Court will consider before making an Order. If your divorce lawyer is not aware and on top of all these requirements your matter could be adjourned, sometimes on several occasions, and cause you to incur unnecessary legal costs.
A lawyer who has experience in all areas of family law – not just divorce – is also important. This is because family law matters often work in tandem. Often a divorce matter can give rise to other family law issues such as parenting matters, property settlements, child support matters, and spousal maintenance.
Do you feel a personal compatibility?
It’s human nature to want to surround ourselves with likeminded people that we can relate to and feel comfortable with. Choosing a divorce lawyer is no different.
To give you a better sense of what you’re looking for in a divorce lawyer and who you connect with the most, consider the following:
- Do they take the time to really listen to you and understand your unique situation?
- Do they explain things clearly and in a way that is easy to understand? Or do they use complex and confusing legal jargon?
- Do they make you feel at ease?
- Are they friendly and approachable?
- How accessible are they? Do they respond to your calls in a timely manner? Are they easy to reach? Do they make time for you or are they too busy to take your call?
- Are they open and honest about your options, possible scenarios and strategy?
- Do they have any online reviews from past clients? Are they good or bad? This is always a good indicator of the type of lawyer they are and how they approach client relationships.
If in doubt – go with your gut and trust your instincts.
Are they flexible and transparent on rates?
Divorce can be a costly and time-consuming process (depending on the complexity of the matter), so it’s important to look for a divorce lawyer who is not only up-front and flexible when it comes to rates, but who has a proven track record for getting results – efficiently and cost-effectively. It’s not necessarily about finding the cheapest divorce lawyer, but rather the most capable divorce lawyer.
A good divorce lawyer will be up-front, open and honest about costs (including disbursements, and Court filing fees), possible outcomes and options, so you know exactly where you stand and can make an informed financial decision.
At Ivy Law Group, we offer a free initial no-obligation 30-minute consultation where we can provide you some guidance of where you stand, possible outcomes and give you a thorough picture of the costs involved.
Get in touch with one of our family lawyers today to discuss your options.
Are they a good communicator?
While this may seem obvious, finding a divorce lawyer who can easily explain complex legal concepts in “laymens terms” and break it down for you in a way that is easy to understand, can make all the difference to the outcome of your matter.
Look for someone who takes the time to ensure you understand exactly what’s happening with your matter, all the potential scenarios, along with your rights and responsibilities under the law. If you are left with more questions than answers, they are probably not the right lawyer for you.
Are they focused and strategic?
To achieve the best results, a good divorce lawyer will act efficiently and work collaboratively. They will take the time to get to know you in order to devise the right strategy tailored to your unique family circumstances, including providing advice on the type of Divorce Application that is best suited to you, and resolve the matter as smoothly and as quickly as possible.
Whilst Applications for Divorce can’t be settled out of Court, and commencing Court proceedings is inevitable, having the right lawyer on board, and who is aware of all the administrative Court requirements can make a big difference in getting a quick and efficient result.
Ready to get experienced family law and divorce advice?
Our Sydney divorce lawyers have extensive experience across all areas of family law and are here to help. We understand the stresses that come with divorce and family law matters and are here to guide you through the process and get the best outcome so you can move forward with this aspect of your life.
If you’re ready to get professional family law advice and help, contact the family lawyers at Ivy Law Group to arrange an initial no-obligation consultation on (02) 9262 4003 or submit an enquiry online.
The content of this article is intended as a general guide to the subject matter. For specific legal advice about your individual circumstances, please contact our experienced lawyers.
Shane leads Ivy Law Group’s Family Law team and has a reputation as one of Sydney’s leading divorce lawyers.
Shane can help with all aspects of family law, including relationship breakdowns, children and parenting matters, financial agreements and property settlements for married and de facto couples.