Many families are back in Hong Kong after a long, extended summer away and the focus is now on settling back into a routine with your family and children. For some, now that the chaos and fun of summer is over, it is the opportune time to regroup and sit down with your significant other to talk about the hard topics that may have been swept under the rug for the sake of summer fun. It is during this new season that many couples have considered speaking with a solicitor to get their queries answered about separation, divorce, custody and all the other important topics related to a split.
Before any major decisions are made about a divorce, it is important that individuals educate themselves about the separation and/or divorce process in Hong Kong and education includes spending a good 30 minutes to an hour with a solicitor specializing in divorce to answer all the questions you may have about what a divorce could mean for you and your family.
In this article, we will list out all the questions you should take with you and ask your solicitor in your initial consultation so you have a handy checklist on what information you need to make an informed decision about your divorce.
- List of Questions To Ask Your Divorce Solicitor In The Initial Consultation: Here is a list of questions to ask your divorce solicitor in an initial consultation. Please be minded that you may want to add to this list of questions based on your personal circumstances.
- What is your experience in family law? Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your experience handling these types of matters?
- What is the difference between a separation and a divorce in Hong Kong?
- Who is likely to obtain custody/care of the children? Do the Courts in Hong Kong give preferential treatment to mothers?
- If I receive primary care of the children, will my partner still have the ability to make joint decisions on issues like religion, schooling and healthcare?
- I want to move away from Hong Kong with the children, what process do I need to go through in order to obtain this?
- How will the Courts in Hong Kong determine the division of assets and debts? Is it 50/50?
- How will the Courts in Hong Kong determine alimony and child support?
- Instead of going through the Court process, are there other alternative methods to resolve the outstanding issues with my spouse? For example, is mediation or collaborative divorce an option in Hong Kong?
- If I go through the divorce, can I speak directly to my spouse and negotiate with my partner on my own?
- How much will you charge me for a divorce? What about extra fees?
- What do you anticipate/estimate my fees will be to finalize the divorce?
- Will you be handling my case or do you have a team/associate assisting as well? How much do you charge per hour?
- If this becomes a litigated case, do I need to also hire a barrister?
- Can we ask that my spouse pay for or contribute to my legal fees?
- Based on the information provided, what would be your suggested strategy for my case?
- How long do you think it will take to resolve my case on the divorce, children and finances?
- List of Questions To Ask Your Divorce Solicitor During The Proceedings: is important that during the divorce process, that you are fully informed of your case and the progress being made. Questions that you pose to your divorce solicitor will vary depending on your own unique circumstances. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask throughout the proceedings so that you are on top of your case and fully informed of its progress.
- Can we review the progress of my case to date and discuss the strategy going forward?
- How much longer do you think it will take to conclude my case?
- How much have I paid in costs thus far? Can you provide an estimate of how much it will cost further, to conclude my case?
- Is there anything you can do to move this case forward faster?
- I am not happy with the result/progress of my case, is there anything we can do?
- Do you think it is time to send out a settlement offer?
- I have moved on and want to remarry, can I do that even though my divorce is not yet concluded?
- My financial situation has changed since the commencement of my case. How can alimony be adjusted due to the change in circumstances?
- Now that my children are older, I want to spend more time with them and they want to spend more time with me. Can I adjust custody/timeshare now that they are older?
You are now armed with important and key questions to assist you in the process of your divorce with your solicitor. Each case is different so you will have your own specific questions unique to your own circumstances. Your solicitor should always be available and willing to answer any and all questions you may have. If there is a lack of communication between you and your solicitor, this should be considered a concern as you should always be aware of the progress of your case and the direction it is headed. If there is a breakdown of communication with your solicitor, it may be time to have a difficult conversation with your solicitor or move on with another solicitor to support you on your journey.