Everyone would like to have the best divorce lawyer without paying expensive fees, but where do you find a good divorce lawyer in Singapore and whose fees are reasonable and affordable?
Getting a good divorce lawyer in Singapore – without busting your budget – is one of the most critical decisions you will make in your divorce. Being represented by a skilled divorce lawyer can mean the difference between a smooth divorce and one marked by frustration, bad decisions and a bad outcome.
Furthermore, if your divorce lawyer’s fees are clear, transparent and affordable, you have the added comfort of knowing that you can budget and plan for your divorce fees without worrying that you might run out of money halfway.
Here are our top 10 tips for finding a good divorce lawyer in Singapore with an eye on fair, transparent, and affordable fees.
1. Review the Straits Times list of the best family lawyers in Singapore
In 2021, the Straits Times, together with international market research firm Statista, conducted the first-ever survey to identify “Singapore’s Best Law Firms” in 15 different legal practice areas, including Family Law.
PKWA Law is one of the firms recognised in the list of “Singapore’s Best Family Law Firms”. The list can be found here.
PKWA Law has won two landmark Court of Appeal cases on division of matrimonial assets.
PKWA Family Law team is led by Lim Chong Boon, a senior family lawyer who is named as a Litigation Star in family law by Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific. The team includes Dorothy Tan, who is recognised as one of the leading divorce lawyers in Singapore by Doyles Guide and who, at the age of 25, led a team to win a landmark divorce case at the Court of Appeal, and Low Jin Liang, who is recognized by Singapore Business Review as one of the most influential lawyers under the age of 40.
2. Check the lawyers awards and accolades
You can also use a search engine like Google to find out about divorce lawyers in Singapore. Read their websites and see if the lawyer is reputable and comes from an established law firm that specialises in divorce law.
It is also useful to check if the divorce lawyer or the family law firm is named in leading legal publications like Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific. The leading specialist family law firms in Singapore are listed there.
PKWA Law is consistently ranked as a leading divorce and family law firm by Benchmark Litigation, Doyles Guide, Asian Legal Business and the Straits Times.
3. Leverage the first consultation
A good lawyer should give you a good summary of your case at the first meeting, and the appropriate strategies for your case.
A good divorce lawyer usually has a sense of the general outcome of the client’s case during the first meeting. Hence, right from the first meeting, a good divorce lawyer should be able to let you know your rights and entitlement.
It would help if you also asked yourself the following questions at the first consultation:
- Is the office a professionally equipped outfit? Is it busy?
- Is the lawyer a divorce specialist?
- Did the lawyer listen?
- What is the lawyer’s track record?
- Are the legal fees clear?
4. Look for a lawyer who is compassionate, caring, and listens to you
Your divorce lawyer should have a compassionate personality. Your lawyer should be caring, supportive and listens to you when you are talking.
More than any other legal field, a divorce lawyer must have the ability to sympathise and care for the client.
You deserve to have a divorce lawyer who will listen to you and feel your pain because you are going through one of the most painful experiences a person can have. If you don’t feel that your lawyer cares, then that lawyer is not right for you.
5. After speaking to the lawyer, do you like them?
Your lawyer is going to be the one with whom you are going to share very intimate personal details of your private life, so choose someone you are comfortable with.
Some clients prefer male divorce lawyers. Others prefer female divorce lawyers. While the gender of your divorce lawyer would not determine the outcome of your case, you should choose someone you are comfortable discussing your case with.
Choose someone likeable, who listens to you, who understands you. If your lawyer makes you feel uncomfortable, he/she is not right for you.
6. Get a feel for the lawyers temperament
If your lawyer is spoiling for a fight against your spouse or displays great animosity towards the opposing counsel, that lawyer may not be right for you. You want a divorce lawyer who has a calm temperament. Lawyers who are calm and reasonable are more likely to offer solutions instead of fighting out in court and draining your finances.
You want a lawyer who encourages settlements, not arguments. This is one of the hallmarks of a good divorce lawyer.
All the best lawyers in Singapore are cordial, respectful and courteous towards their opponents and judges. Being respectful and courteous are traits every lawyer should have.
There is this misconception that aggressive lawyers will win cases. I can tell you that lawyers win cases because they are hard-working and well prepared. Your aggressive lawyer who wants to fight every battle will soon be out of your life when your divorce case is over – but his/her manner of unnecessary angry litigation would have cost you a lot of time and money, not to mention a terrible relationship with your ex-spouse and children.
Judges naturally prefer lawyers who are respectful and respected over someone who is loud, petty and overly aggressive and prolongs litigation.
I like to say: Get a lawyer who is respected and who is respectful.
7. Good divorce lawyers are hardworking
Right from the first meeting, a good divorce lawyer will demonstrate competence and knowledge. He/she will be straightforward with you and does not sell you false hope. You know that your case will be well handled.
The best divorce lawyers are also extremely hardworking. They often put in long hours of research, drafting, discussions and reading documents to help their clients’ case. There is no substitute for hard work!
8. Look for divorce lawyers that display plenty of honesty
You want a divorce lawyer who is honest about your chances and, at the same time, is caring and compassionate.
You want your lawyer to be frank and direct with you, without appearing unkind or uncaring.
Good divorce lawyers tend to be more cautious and realistic in their assessments. Divorce cases are rarely about one party winning everything.
9. Look for lawyers that propose clear, transparent fees upfront
Make sure that the lawyer tells you clearly how much and how they are going to charge you. There is no reason why the lawyer cannot indicate how much your divorce will cost you. Do not hire your lawyer until you are clear about the fees.
If possible, look for a lawyer who offers you fixed fees or capped fees. Having fixed or capped fees mean that you don’t have the nightmare scenario of spending a fortune on legal fees.
While you do not want to spend too much on fees, you should also not engage a divorce lawyer simply because he/she is the cheapest. What you want is a good competent lawyer with reasonable fees.
10. Seek lawyers with a proven track record
Finally, you want a divorce lawyer who has a good track record of winning divorce cases involving children custody, maintenance and division of matrimonial assets. At the end of the day, your divorce lawyer should get you what you are reasonably entitled to.
Recently, the family lawyers at PKWA Law helped our client to win a Court of Appeal case on the division of matrimonial assets. The husband got 75% of S$13.6 million in matrimonial assets, up from 25%. In 2015, our family lawyers also won a Court of Appeal case on the new Singapore law on the division of matrimonial assets.
Our Family Law Practice is headed by Mr Lim Chong Boon, who has more than 30 years of experience as a family lawyer and who is recognised as a Litigation Star in the prestigious Benchmark Litigation Asia Pacific annual survey. The team includes Dorothy Tan, who is ranked as a leading family lawyer by Benchmark Litigation, Doyles Guide and Asian Legal Business, and Low Jin Liang, recognized as one of the most influential lawyers in Singapore under the age of 40. The other family law specialists are Charlene Nah, Jessica Chow, Sheila Cheng, Yeow Ing Yee, and Mathea Lim.
All senior members of our family law team are Accredited Mediators and Accredited Collaborative Family Practitioners with the Singapore Mediation Centre.