Divorce is stressful, emotional and costly, so you must be crystal clear about whether or not you want it.
And what if you are?
Family lawyer Rajan Chettiar outlines the steps to take and what to expect when consulting a lawyer.
My marriage has irreparably broken down. Should I consult a lawyer?
The thought of consulting a lawyer crosses a client’s mind when he or she feels that divorce might be an option.
It is good for you to first obtain legal advice, so list down all of your questions and concerns prior to your consultation.
You should also speak to a counsellor for emotional support and clarity as to how to handle his impending divorce.
The Singapore divorce process involves the client, his or her counsellor and family lawyer plus the Family Justice Courts.
What can I expect when meeting with the lawyer?
To start, the lawyer will answer your list of questions to ease your mind.
If you have decided to file for a divorce, your role and involvement in the process as well as the possibilities, advantages and disadvantages of filing for divorce in your home country or in Singapore should also be outlined. At this point in time, your lawyer will also be in a position to discuss the various dispute resolutions methods you can use before filing for a divorce. These methods include negotiation, mediation and collaborative family practice.
In addition, you can discuss your case strategy objectives, any outcomes you wish to achieve and other special requirements.
Use this opportunity to really get to know your lawyer, determine his or her legal experience and his or her way of handling divorce cases.
Your lawyer will inform you about his or her fees, out-of-pocket charges and preferred billing structure as well.
What will I need to bring if I decide to file for a divorce on the first consultation?
You will need to fill out a divorce checklist and give complete details about yourself, your spouse and children, including your children’s schooling and care arrangements.
Your lawyer will also need copies of your identity card, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, pay slips and income tax documents.
You should bring along a list of matrimonial assets and monthly expenses incurred by your spouse, children and yourself.
What happens after the first meeting?
You’ll be given an option to follow up with your lawyer on the issues you’ve discussed via email or telephone exchanges.
Once the deposit is paid, your lawyer will then forward a letter of engagement, which details the terms of the working relationship between you and your lawyer.
From The Finder, July 2016
Rajan Chettiar is a professional lawyer trained in the field of family and commercial mediation. He is also a trained collaborative lawyer and is qualified to oversee matters such as couples looking to resolve marital, child, financial and property issues before filing for divorce, or individuals seeking protection against family violence. A volunteer court mediator, Rajan offers family and commercial mediation services, including set tling employment and commercial disputes to avoid litigation. Providing legal solutions for all your personal and corporate problems, he invites you to email your queries or comments to him on a no-obligation basis.