Divorce & Mediation
Divorce is not at an easy process at all. In fact, it can affect various fields in your life such as emotional, physical, financial and legal, just to name a few. If you opt for an uncontested divorce, and you do not have kids, assets or property, you may be able to go through the process relatively easy. Your divorce can be finalised quicker, and it will also be inexpensive. If you do have kids and assets, and can’t really agree to the terms of the divorce with your spouse, then things can get difficult. This is usually where couples end up in a contested divorce which may involve a long litigation process (can take more than a year) and because of the time commitment to your case by the divorce lawyer, legal fees can skyrocket if you don’t keep a check on it.
When opting for divorce, no matter which kind, you would often require the advice of certain divorce professionals in all likelihood to ensure that your divorce process is a smooth one, and you end up with the result that you want, or can live with. You may require expert services from at least some of the professionals such as a divorce lawyer, accountant, a divorce mediator, therapist, marriage counsellor or a divorce financial specialist. These professionals may be helpful in your stressful transition period but hiring the right ones can be a challenging task.
Selecting a good divorce lawyer is perhaps the most crucial decision you need to make for fighting your divorce case. Like any other profession, there are good lawyers and there are great lawyers. It should be your responsibility to do your homework, background check and ask the right kind of questions to ascertain which group a lawyer belongs to.
If cost is your biggest worry, then try as far as possible to opt for an uncontested divorce, which can generally start from $1,500 onwards. A question we notice get asked a lot is that those undergoing divorce will tend to look for the cheapest divorce lawyer in Singapore. Some of these people do not really place an importance on the experience, attitude of the lawyer, and other factors that normally come into play. All they want is to pay the lowest price possible for their divorce, which is understandable.
However, we have to mention that there may be some correlation between a lawyer’s educational background, experience, the law firm they work at and the fees they charge. A lawyer working in a law firm with a fancy, top floor office overlooking Singapore will probably have higher consulting fees or per hour rates as compared to boutique law firms, who may try to keep their overheads low so they can provide affordable legal services in Singapore.
When choosing a lawyer with low legal fees, keep in mind that service quality plays a very important role in your divorce experience, apart from the fee. Also look out for any undisclosed fees or scenarios in which you might have to fork out more money before signing the contract. Most times, it is better if you can get a range of the legal fees you are expected to pay.
Also, check out the following before selecting your divorce lawyer :
• Specialised in family law: If a law firm is specialising more in corporate law, they might not be of much use to you
• Experienced: You should ensure that the said lawyer has been practicing family law for some time, and is aware of the pitfalls
• Should be an expert negotiator: In case your divorce case can be sorted out without a prolonged and bitter legal battle, you can save a lot of your money, stress and time
• Firm and confident: They believe in their arguments and can stand by them, and provide justifications when questioned. These arguments must also serve your best interest, not theirs.
• Reasonable in their approach and dealings: You will need a lawyer who can advise you to opt for a settlement in case a fair offer is made so that your divorce case does not drag on for ages to satisfy the desire of your lawyer to ‘win’.
If there is proper mediation, a third party mediator, your spouse and you can come together and negotiate on ways of leading successful lives separately. You can save both money and time through successful mediation. Both you and your spouse would benefit while working out an amicable agreement with the help of an unbiased mediator instead of being at crossroads and making your lives miserable.
However, mediation may not be a choice in all cases of divorce. When both parties agree to resolve the issues instead of emotions clouding their sense of judgment and logic, it is helpful to try for a mediation. Effective mediation can help both the parties to sort out matters out of the court. Plus, both of you will know how to practice new and powerful communication techniques that could serve you well in your new relationships or life after divorce.
An example of a mediation service in Singapore include the Family Services at the Singapore Mediation Centre.