Costs questions to ask at the first appointment (book extract)

Marilyn Stowe's best selling book on divorce

This is an amended extract from my latest book, Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer.

The Law Society requires solicitors to inform clients about likely legal costs before the first appointment. Ensure that you are aware of your solicitor’s charge-out rate. Do not presume that your first appointment is free, unless this has been confirmed in writing.

Your solicitor should send you a note of the meeting immediately afterwards to confirm the advice you have been given, along with a client retainer letter that confirms all the housekeeping information. This note will be an aide memoir.

  1. Please could you provide more detailed information about the likely costs?

(Note: at the first appointment you should also be asked to sign a form, to confirm that you are aware of the solicitor’s charge-out rate for the first meeting.)

  1. How long is this divorce likely to take?
  2. Who will be working on my case? How will my case be supervised?
  3. How often will I be billed? What are the payment terms?
  4. To whom do I address any complaints about your service or my case?
  5. How often will I come to your office, and how much of this work can be conducted via e-mail or fax?
  6. How often will I attend court?
  7. Is an alternative form of dispute resolution appropriate in my case?
  8. What about outside assistance? For example, are barristers, forensic accountants or other experts required?
  9. Are my costs recoverable from my spouse?
  10. How can I pay my costs as the case progresses, if I don’t have the money available?

Divorce & Splitting Up: Advice From a Top Divorce Lawyer by Marilyn Stowe is the essential how-to book for anyone who is getting divorced or splitting up from a partner.

This bestselling guide features checklists, case studies and FAQs alongside step-by-step explanations and easy-to-understand legal advice. Available on Kindle (£0.99) and in paperback (£5.99).

“Clear, concise and frank – just what you need in this situation” – Mrs Karen Taylor, reader.

 

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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