Engaging a suitable good divorce lawyer is not simply just like finding a property agent or sub-contractor to buy and renovate your home property. Divorce, a life decision of such scale, would warrant as much importance as getting married with a significant other. Such an irreversible decision should be accompanied by rounds of thoughtful consideration supported by a good divorce attorney; someone who is highly experienced, trusting and deeply concern for an outcome that is favourable to you and your children.
Should you deem that your marriage has broken down and require a divorce lawyer, here are some guidelines you should consider before pouring your money, time, commitment and hopes in choosing a right divorce lawyer in Singapore.
- Set Realistic Objectives and Expectations. The role of the matrimonial attorney includes providing you with strategic legal judgement to navigate your divorce case, settling the divorce procedures in Singapore and finding the most effective, fastest and most affordable way to settle your divorce case. To complement your family court attorney’s effort, you should also do your part to be informed with the basic divorce procedures so that you can take ownership of making decisions pertaining to the custody of children and maintenance of assets.
Also, be sure not to confuse your family court attorney with your therapist or social counsellor. It may be hard to control your strong emotions when discussing about your spouse or children, but understand that your matrimonial lawyer’s main objective is to help you resolve your marriage issues through the legal proceedings needed.
- Find a Well-Qualified Family Court Lawyer. Given that there are more than 400 law firms in Singapore that handle divorce and family law matters, it is not so straightforward in selecting the right divorce attorney. A basic thumb of rule is to hire a lawyer in Singapore who specializes in family law such as the civil divorce, Muslim divorce or expat divorce and someone who holds certain years of experience in handling the potentially adversarial aspect of your divorce.
An ideal family court lawyer should also communicate and negotiate well, solves problems creatively and is comfortable to be in court to negotiate a settlement for your divorce should such a need arise in a contestable divorce.
You should start your search for a divorce attorney through asking your close friends and family for personal recommendations; search online for reputable or widely recognised lawyers with credible reviews and interview them when you have the chance to meet them. Using the free 20-minute consultation which many law firms provide, you should ask the divorce attorney on relevant questions regarding your case and seek legal advice before deciding to engage him or her.
- Look out for Red Flags. Many family court lawyer may provide unsound legal advice and tell false truths to clients just to close a deal. You do not want an overly aggressive lawyer who pushes you to commit into unnecessary extreme measures to fight your divorce case. By extending the duration of your divorce case to the Family Courts, it is in the interest of divorce lawyers to profit off you at a much higher than required to settle your divorce.
Also, during your consultation meeting, observe how attentive your divorce lawyer is to your divorce case especially if it is a simpler one. Should your divorce lawyer be constantly distracted by phone calls and emails, he or she is not likely to do so when you demand his or her urgent focus on your divorce case. Apart from qualifications and experience, a good divorce lawyer is someone who respects you and someone you trust and feel comfortable with to work with for the settlement of your divorce.
Remember, no matter what your circumstances are, you hold the final say and responsibility when it comes to picking a top family court lawyer for your divorce. Do not hesitate to walk away and hire another attorney should he or she fails to meet your needs and expectations.
- Opting for Clear and Transparent Fees. You should clarify on all types of fees chargeable with your family court attorney on the first consultation meeting before deciding to engage one. Double check if there are extra legal fees hidden that is not clearly stated black and white on paper. Depending on whether divorce case is an uncontested one, meaning you and your spouse are agreeable on all issues pertaining to the marriage, the fees chargeable are either flat fees or calculated based on hourly billing. A contested divorce can cost up to a few hundred thousand dollars should the complex divorce case is dragged over extended period of time. You should also be upfront to explain your financial situation and ability of payment to your matrimonial lawyer to allow him or her to suggest the best course of action with your level of affordability.