A good and experienced family court lawyer can make a huge difference to the outcome of your divorce case. Any otherwise would leave you feeling even more frustrated, if you have been experiencing a strained or uncomfortable relationship with your family lawyer.
Here are 5 common mistakes Singaporeans should avoid when choosing a good divorce lawyer in Singapore.
Mistake #1: Doing Insufficient Background Check on Your Divorce Lawyer
Do not rush into engaging just any divorce lawyer in Singapore. Before contacting a family attorney, do a detailed internet profile search on the family law firm and the matrimonial lawyer whose services you want to engage. This can include a CRB Check. To find out the level of experience and expertise of a divorce attorney, you may review the lawyer’s track record and search for positive reviews and testimonials from his or her past clients. Some divorce lawyers could be a generalist in their field and are not as experienced as they claim or advertise to be.
You should also call your chosen divorce law firm and request to speak to the family divorce lawyer you have chosen. Most divorce law firms will provide a free 20 minutes consultation to explain the divorce process and provide some essential legal advice. Through this session, you can discuss any points of doubt with the lawyer and confirm the outcome of the cases your family divorce lawyer has previously handled.
Mistake #2: Hiring an Inexperienced Family Court Lawyer
Make it a point to find out the relevant legal experience and specialisation your family court attorney possesses. With cost considerations in mind, if your case is a simple and rather straightforward uncontested divorce, hiring a less experienced or generalist family law practitioner is still a possible option. However, do note that if your case is more complex and contentious, e.g. a contested divorce which requires you and your spouse to appear in Court or otherwise requiring special knowledge of the Muslim Law or Expatriate Divorce, it is highly recommended to engage a well-qualified and experienced divorce lawyer who is able to skilful enough advise you with right course of action.
You should make an informed decision with regards of your individual divorce circumstances before settling on a suitably-qualified good family lawyer.
Mistake #3: Hiring a Cheap (or the Cheapest) Divorce Lawyer Solely Based on Cost
Do not engage a cheap family attorney simply because of the enticing low price offered. Instead, focus on the quality and value of the services the divorce attorney can provide in helping you navigate the complexities of the divorce process in Singapore and representing your best interests.
You will come across generalist lawyers who advertise and offer cheap legal services on the internet to attract and bait in clients. Exercise caution, since what you pay is what you get. A cheap family lawyer will highly likely to short-change you in terms of staff support, resources and time that is needed to deal with your case.
Remember, choosing the right family law lawyer to guide you through the complex legal proceedings is one of the most important decisions you should make in relation to your divorce. Otherwise, you may painstakingly suffer the severe consequences of lower quality legal advice and lower quality service detrimental to you and your children.
Mistake #4: Not Clarifying Legal Costs from The Start
One of the most important considerations is to find out the rough estimated divorce fees to keep it within your range of affordability. It would do you good to have some knowledge of the divorce procedures in Singapore. Simply understanding the basic difference between an uncontested divorce or contested divorce would help you understand whether your divorce legal fees are fixed priced or billed hourly.
You should also make an effort to understand how you will be billed and charged by your family lawyer at every stage of the divorce process. Be sure to double check if there are any hidden legal fees not mentioned in the quoted fees as advertised in a website or television commercial.
There will be an engagement letter, which describes the nature of your divorce proceeding, the terms and conditions of the relationship between you and your divorce attorney and the estimated range of costs. Make sure you read the letter of engagement properly and thoroughly before hiring the family lawyer.
Mistake #5: Hiring a Divorce Lawyer You Do Not Have Good Rapport With
The level of trust that exists between you and your family attorney is key in determining the success of a favourable result for your case. You should have a high level of interaction with your lawyer and he or she should take a genuine interest in your case. In return, you should be completely honest with him/her so that he may assist you with his/her best possible efforts. All the concerns and worries you have about your case should be carefully listened to and addressed.
Determine if this family law attorney suits your requirement when you finally get to interact with your divorce attorney. If you feel uncomfortable discussing your issues with him; this would mean that you are unable to provide him/her with the full details and he/she may not be able to assist you as much as he/she would like to.