When should I contact a divorce solicitor?

Last time on the blog we talked about how it’s natural to turn to a solicitor straightaway once you’ve decided to divorce. And I explained why this isn’t a good idea. Catch up now if you missed it, that blog alone could save you thousands! So you might ask, when should I contact a divorce solicitor?

My vision is for you to be supported through your divorce process so that you make smart emotional and financial decisions which enable you to move forward with your life. 

When you buy a house, the last thing you do is hire a solicitor to do the conveyancing.  Before then, you’ve made lots of decisions about the house you are going to buy. It’s the same with divorce. Seeing a solicitor should ideally come last.

So when is it best to find a solicitor?

In short, the best time to contact a solicitor is when you are ready to “instruct” them. This means you are ready to ask the solicitor to act on your behalf, so they can legally represent you as you go through the divorce process, and any legal processes related to money and children. This is for the things you can’t or don’t want to do yourself.

To get to that point you need to have done your research about what you want from your divorce, and be clear on how you would like to proceed. Sadly, in my experience, uncertainty in divorce costs lots of time, money and often sanity.

What do I need to think about before hiring (instructing) a solicitor?

Here are some of the key questions to ask yourself before you even consider making contact with a solicitor (bear in mind this isn’t a comprehensive checklist – everyone’s circumstances are different):

  • Is the marriage really over?
  • Am I emotionally ready to divorce?
  • Am I entitled to divorce under English law?
  • Have I discussed this with my spouse?
  • Do I know what the finances look like?
  • Do I know what my post-divorce income needs are?
  • How much is my divorce likely to cost?
  • Do I know what I want to happen with the children?
  • Do I know what I want my post-divorce life to look like?
  • Is my spouse in agreement with my ideas?
  • Which of the five facts [see blog post] will I use to demonstrate my marriage has irretrievably broken down?
  • What practical and emotional support will I have as I divorce?

How do I take control and save money?

Knowledge is power.  So having crystal clear clarity on your answers to these and related questions before contacting a solicitor does two things.

Firstly, it places you in control of your divorce. While it doesn’t mean everything will necessarily go your way (for example if you and your spouse disagree) it does mean you will be informed and be able to make right decisions for your future.  Whilst it may feel scary to even consider answering these questions and having a conversation with your spouse about them it is always better to know where you stand rather than hope for the best.

Secondly, it is likely your divorce will cost you less. In the legal world time equals money. If you are well prepared, have consulted with your spouse and know how to manage the process, there are likely to be fewer flashpoints, and less of your solicitor’s time taken up answering your questions. Remember solicitors often charge in six-minute increments, so every phone call, letter, email is considerable billable (to you!). Doing your research can save you a fortune. Literally thousands of pounds. When you are ready, find a good solicitor from Resolution. Resolution lawyers are collaboratively trained, helping you focus on settlement rather than litigation.

How do I educate myself on the divorce process and get the impartial emotional support I need?

Club D36 was created exactly for this purpose. Club D36 is a community of women who are ready to divorce. They want to get informed and take control of their divorce, before it takes control of them. Imagine how that will feel for you.  Losing the fear and uncertainty of the future and creating a vision of your future life.

Getting divorced is a relatively easy legal process. It’s simply about completing forms and gaining agreement on finances. Sounds too easy, right? However, when your life is about to change significantly it takes time to process your feelings. That’s why I formed Club D36, to help you, exactly where you are.


Will I get access to you Emma?


Yes, as your divorce coach and expert on the emotional aspects of divorce I am available in Club D36 every week, answering your questions and providing support to help women just like you manage your divorce your way.

How long will it take for me to get the information I need?

I suggest that you join for 90 days: in the first three months of your membership we can answer ALL of your questions, no matter how big or small they feel. Together we will build your confidence, so that you won’t be bamboozled by fancy legal terminology or any naughtiness from your spouse.  You’ll give yourself time to get your emotions in check, and the courage to take the next step when you’re ready (not when your soon to be ex-husband is!).

Is Club D36 safe?

In Club D36 we offer you a safe space to be honest and open.  We trust each other implicitly and have an unwritten code of conduct to be fully supportive at all time.  Kindness is one of my key values, and this permeates through Club D36.

Who is in Club D36?

You’ll connect with a small group of other women who are on the same journey as you, who aren’t emotionally invested in your relationship with your spouse like your friends and family are, who are going to become your fiercest cheerleaders.

How will Club D36 help me with the legal process?

As a Club D36 member we’ll help you decide when is the right time for you to start the legal process, and by this time, you’ll already have an understanding of the legal process and how it works. You may also have done lots of the process yourself using the materials in the the Club.  If and when you do need a solicitor, you’ll be instructing them rather than asking or checking. You truly will become the director of your divorce and your future.

How do I join?

I invite you to join Club D36 today. With a monthly investment of only £36 per month, you’ll be spending just over £100 in 3 months (less than a Starbucks a day).  This investment in you and your future life is likely to save hundreds, if not thousands, on your divorce costs.

And that’s the way to manage divorce on your terms. With support, up-to-date information and a small community of like-minded women who’ve got your back. I’d love to have you join us: join today.

So I beg of you, do not instruct a solicitor until you’re ready.  Really ready. Here are 5 questions you don’t need to ask your divorce solicitor. Please don’t be forced to move quickly, because it suits your spouse.  This is your divorce too.  Take all the time you need, and I’ll be here to help you every step of the way.

Emma Heptonstall The Divorce Alchemist is author of the Amazon best selling book How to be a Lady Who Leaves the Ultimate Guide to Getting Divorce Ready. A former lawyer, Emma is a practising family mediator and founder of Get Divorce Ready the online self study and group programme to help you get control of your divorce before it gets control of you. Emma has been featured on BBC Radio, The Telegraph, the iPaper and in Marie Claire Magazine. To find out more visit www.emmaheptonstall.com

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