What is family lawyer?
A trusted family solicitors is one trained to carry out legal processes regarding your family and their legal commitments. They are there to both help guide you and to draw up agreements and documents that will be required to legally enforce matters throughout your personal relationships when the need arises. This will be done by setting guidelines, rules, obligations and the roles of those involved in order to settle any conflict or disagreement by creating rules, via a legal document, in advance or during any issues that may arrive.
Which are their areas of expertise?
They will cover:
- Marriage and civil partnerships
- Domestic violence
- Property rights
- Parental responsibility
- Child custody
- Children’s rights
- Child protection
Heading into a marriage or civil partnership, partners may want to draw up contracts to protect their existing assets with the creation of a prenuptial agreement in the event that their new partnership may not work out.
Couples who live together will need a fair plan in separating accumulated assets and belongings should they separate. This is called a cohabitation agreement and is a crucial document in retaining order and fairness during separation conflict.
Married couples entering into divorce are generally the most in need of legal representation from a family lawyer. It takes a great deal of skill to negotiate a fair settlement while keeping stress and emotional distress to a minimum.
If you have encountered domestic violence then this is another area of family law that requires great understanding and delicacy with sound efficient and official guidance and protection for those involved.
Also in the event of a relationship separation a family lawyer will negotiate a fair and legal split of your property assets.
The rights of each of your children and the breakdown of care and accommodation are incredibly personal matters during separation where emotions are often taught therefore a good lawyer is a must to help manage these issues with sensitivity while reaching an appropriate solution for both parties. Your children’s welfares are a must so a good family lawyer is imperative in these situations.
In happier circumstances the addition of a child to your home and family by adoption is also a matter for family law. An efficient and experienced legal representative can streamline the whole process for you taking much of the worry and stress away allowing you to focus on more important matters.
Things to look out for – professionally
Are they industry recognised?
Check reviews and scores on Trustpilot and see if they feature in the Legal 500. All lawyer and solicitor firms should openly display their legal accreditations to not only instil confidence but to prove they are operating in a legal and professional manner.
Are they Resolution members?
Resolution is an organisation of specialist family law lawyers who are committed to the codes of practice set out by proven solutions and methods. They promote a non-confrontational approach to problems in order to try and protect the whole family. They will aim for a constructive resolution of your family issues in order to avoid unnecessary conflict affecting you, your partner or your children.
Do they have experience?
You will feel a great deal of reassurance and confidence in your lawyer if they show a wealth of experience and satisfactory outcomes to many previous cases. The more cases they will have undertaken the higher the chance they will have seen similarities to yours garnering the exact experience to help you arrive at a resolve as simply as possible.
Are their explanations clear and understandable?
You will need to understand where you stand regarding the law and what you can legally expect from your partner, for your children or in relation to your home or property, but often the legal terms and glossary can be difficult to understand. Ideally your lawyer will have a great way of converting these facts into simple English you can digest without leaving you confused or unsure.
Do they outline a specific list of goals and steps to achieve?
Your lawyer should be beginning to form an active plan for you as soon as you reach the completion of your initial consultation. Of course there are always hiccups along the way so such a plan cannot be set in stone but a set of specific goals, how to achieve them, the timescales involved and just as importantly, the costs for each, should be presented to you in order for you to decide how to proceed, to allocate budget and if the cost of the process is fair in the current market.
Things to look out for – personally
Do they operate as a team or an individual?
Many hands make light work! The lawyer you meet to discuss your issues with will more than likely work as part of a team; each of which will have their own experiences and knowledge base to utilise a healthier chance of trouble free resolution.
A collaborative lawyer will work on finding resolve outside of the courts that demonstrate a very understanding and progressive practice. These methods can often reduce a lot of unnecessary pressure, stresses and costs associated with passing through the court system.
How is the office accessibility and availability of staff?
Check for opening hours, appointment availability and the option to make emergency telephone calls when you’re unsure of what to do is a must. Not being able to have access to your lawyer when you need it will add to the stress and emotional issues of an already difficult time.
Are they good listeners?
Each case is unique so it’s imperative that your lawyer pays complete attention in order to understand all the nuances of your case and offer a tailored and personal solution to your resolution. If you feel at any time they’re uninterested or missing important information then they are not the lawyer for you.
Do you feel as though you can trust them?
Real trust in your lawyer will help fill you with confidence. This is something you need when dealing with such valuable assets as your family, your home and your belongings. Without feeling a full level of trust in your lawyer you should consider looking for an alternative where you can.
Do they inspire confidence?
If they are confident in their work it is more than likely from an on-going level of success in their role. The confidence they will impart should hopefully outline their assurance of completion with your best interests and the best outcome at heart. It’s a big tell in how a lawyer operates and feels about themselves and the cases they undertake.
It’s time to check your list
These are not an exhaustive source of what you should look out for but they are a positive guide in where to start. You should get a better feel for your lawyer and their practices when you engage with them in person as you discuss your case and specific needs. If they tick all of your boxes and come with the attributes and prices you feel are right for you then you’ve found a family lawyer who can hopefully guide you simply to your resolution without too much emotional stress along the way.