How to prepare for your initial consultation with a family solicitor?
Making the decision to speak to a family solicitor can be daunting or feel like a weight off your shoulders. You may have realised that you cannot continue living in your current situation, or you’ve finally got yourself into a position to be able to take action, or you’ve decided to take the next step together as a couple or family. Whatever the reason, it is important to be prepared for your initial consultation with your family solicitor to ensure you get as much out of it as possible.
The most important thing to remember is that your family solicitor is there to support you and guide you, so providing them with the full picture will help them to help you, and will lead to a positive and productive working relationship moving forward.
This article will answer the following questions. Jump to the relevant section:
- What does a family solicitor deal with?
- Is the initial consultation free?
- How do you prepare for the meeting?
- What advice will I be given?
What does a family solicitor deal with?
At Anthony Gold, our solicitors deal with a variety of issues that can arise in families, including the commencement of a marriage or cohabitation, the breakdown of a marriage or civil partnership, separation of cohabiting partners, financial proceedings following separation, child arrangements and other key decisions in respect of a child’s upbringing, child abduction and relocation, and much more.
If you’re not sure whether your issue can be dealt with by a family solicitor, give the Anthony Gold family department a call on 020 7940 4060 and one of our colleagues will be able to guide you.
Is the initial consultation free?
At Anthony Gold, we offer a free 20-minute consultation which can be booked below:
This consultation can be helpful for getting an overview of the legal situation, some initial information about potential ways forward, and general guidance on costs and timescales.
For more extensive, detailed, and tailored advice, we usually offer a 1-hour consultation for a fixed fee of £250 plus VAT. At this meeting, your solicitor will gather more information, advise you on the law, outline what your options are, and advise you on what your best option(s) would be.
How do you prepare for the meeting?
The best way to prepare for your meeting is to gather all of the relevant information together so that you can give your solicitor as full a picture as possible and answer any questions that they have. It is also helpful to think about what questions you want answered and what advice you need.
Some things that you can prepare and bring to your meeting include:
List of Questions
It is difficult for the solicitor to advise you properly if you aren’t sure what advice you are looking for. Formulating a list of questions in advance of the meeting can help you narrow down the issues and allow you to get the most out of the initial meeting, reducing the likelihood of straying from the key points and forgetting to ask important questions. It will also help the solicitor tailor their advice specifically to the issues at hand.
A chronology listing the key dates for the matter can help the solicitor establish the history and give appropriate advice.
In financial settlement cases, for example, details of when the relationship started, when cohabitation commenced, when you got married, and when you separated, can be helpful in identifying what a likely division of matrimonial assets will be. In children’s cases, key milestones in the children’s lives such as dates of birth, date of parental separation, and dates of any key incidents, are very useful for a solicitor to know from the outset.
If there are court proceedings already taking place, or mediation meetings have already occurred, it is important to include these in your chronology, as well as any deadlines you will be expected to meet in the few weeks following the meeting.
A family tree can be helpful if there are lots of people involved in the matter or there are complicated relationships, such as children from previous marriages, multiple siblings, step-parents, etc.. This can help the solicitor navigate the family dynamics and tailor their advice based on your particular family structure.
If there are ongoing court proceedings, it is essential that the solicitor has the option to look through and consider these, as it is likely to impact the advice that you are given. Key dates such as Court Hearings and directions should also be included in your chronology.
Check with the solicitor before sending large documents such as court bundles, as this might take additional reading time that is not covered by a fixed fee and it might not be necessary for them to read every single document prior to the initial consultation.
A financial summary outlining your financial position and that of your partner/ex-partner can be very helpful, particularly in financial settlement matters or the drafting of pre-nuptial / pre-civil partnership agreements. The key things to include are details of any properties (approximate value and any outstanding mortgage), bank account balances, investment and savings balances, any assets of large value (for example, paintings and jewellery valued over £500), and details of your income and pensions.
It is not necessary to bring evidence of these values to the first meeting, nor for you to spend significant amounts of time determining precise values – an estimate of values is sufficient for the purposes of the first consultation.
What advice will I be given?
What advice you will be given largely depends on the nature of your query and your particular circumstances. Nonetheless, you can expect to receive the following advice from your solicitor at your initial consultation:
Overview of the Law
Your solicitor will explain the law to you, identifying relevant legislation and any procedures that will need to be followed.
In many of the various areas of family law, you could follow various paths to resolving your issue. The solicitor will identify the different options that are available to you, and will also help you identify what the best option(s) for you would be given your particular circumstances.
Strengths and Weaknesses
As part of identifying what your best option would be, the solicitor will explain what the strengths and weaknesses of your case are, as well as those of the other people involved (usually your partner/ex-partner).
Costs and Timescale Estimates
It is usually very difficult to give a precise estimate on how long an issue will take to resolve, and how much it will cost to achieve that resolution. This is because there will be many factors to your case.
Nonetheless, your solicitor will be able to provide you with guide estimates for costs and timescales of the various options available to you, helping you to decide which is the best way forward and allowing you to plan and prepare to meet those costs.
Anthony Gold’s family team are all expert family lawyers who are accredited by Resolution as experts in their field. The team has a number of qualified collaborative lawyers and mediators best equipped to resolve difficult and challenging disputes. They are experienced in dealing with financial and children applications within the Family Courts too.
For more insight into the range of services we offer, explore our website, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give the team a call at 020 7940 4060.
* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*