A Guide On What To Expect When Working With A Family Law Solicitor
The role of a family law solicitor is to advise individuals, and sometimes couples, on a wide range of family law matters.
What do family law solicitors advise clients on?
This can include advising at the start of a relationship, such as preparation of a pre nuptial agreement or post nuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement or declaration of trust. Alternatively, or in addition, this includes advising those at the end of a relationship who are going through a separation and need to consider divorce or dissolution and agree on their financial settlements and/or child arrangements on separation.
There can also be the need to seek advice on specific issues regarding children, such as a change of name, one parent wishing to move with the children abroad (known as leave to remove) or to move with the children elsewhere within the country (known as internal relocation), and/or decisions regarding schooling or medical treatment.
How do you know if a family law solicitor is good?
If you are looking to get advice from a reputable family law solicitor, this is a useful checklist:
- Look at their firm website profile. This should give you a good idea of who they are, the work they do and their areas of expertise.
- Check that they are a Resolution member. It is always best to choose a family law solicitor who is a member of Resolution. Resolution is a community of family justice professionals who subscribe to a code of practice to work constructively with individuals or couples seeking family law advice.
- See what accreditations/other qualifications they hold. Resolution members will often have specialist accreditations, indicating particular areas of law where they have specialist expertise and experience. A family solicitor may be collaboratively trained, enabling you to try and reach an agreement through a series of roundtable meetings whilst each retaining your own collaboratively trained lawyer. A family solicitor may also be qualified to provide other legal professional services, such as mediation or arbitration, or they may also sit as a judge. These services all add to the skillset of a family solicitor and can further enhance their expertise.
- Read blogs and articles they have written. You will often find solicitors writing on areas of interest or recent developments in family law. This can be seen in blogs and articles online, in the media or in legal publications.
- Consult legal directories such as Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners to check that the solicitor and/or their firm is recognised as a specialist in family law by being ranked in one of their bandings. Individuals can also be recognised as leaders in their field or rising stars.
What should you expect from your solicitor?
Good knowledge of the law is just the starting point for what a good family law solicitor should offer. As well as remaining up to date and advising on the current legal position, a good family lawyer should also have the ability to listen and empathise whilst remaining impartial.
They are there to advise on the range of legal processes available and help you to decide which is best for you. This will involve a consideration of cost but also other factors such as the extent to which there is trust and knowledge shared between those involved, the potential for issues to be resolved amicably, and consideration of any power imbalance or vulnerabilities that may exist.
They can suggest a range of options and advise on the best outcome for you and your family. A good family solicitor should strive to help clients find solutions outside of court wherever possible. When children are involved, the best interests of the children should be paramount and integral to all discussions.
Many family law solicitors will offer a free initial discussion or an initial fixed-fee meeting to discuss your options. After that their fees will be charged at an hourly rate and cost estimates should be provided in advance of work being carried out. Clients should expect to be kept up to date on the progress of their matter and the costs involved throughout.
What are the responsibilities of a family law solicitor?
A family lawyer’s responsibility to their client is to properly advise on the current law as it relates to their client’s situation, explore options for reaching a resolution, and provide accurate information as to costs. Their day-to-day role will involve meeting and corresponding with clients, other solicitors and legal professionals, experts, and the court.
They will be responsible for the proper drafting of court and other documentation and preparing for each court hearing. Depending on the nature of the hearing, the solicitor may represent their client or may instruct a specialist barrister on the client’s behalf.
A family lawyer has a responsibility to the court to conduct themselves in an ethical manner in accordance with the SRA code of conduct. Resolution members also have a responsibility to uphold and adhere to the Resolution Code of Practice.
Interested in Family Mediation?
Couples who want to use the courts must undergo an evaluation to determine whether mediation is a better option for settling their dispute.
Couples will attend meetings facilitated by a mediator if family mediation is requested. In order to reach a reasonable and equitable settlement, the mediator can offer general legal advice while remaining impartial towards the parties.
Find out more about the family mediation options offered by Anthony Gold.
Anthony Gold Family Law Department
The family law department at Anthony Gold are members of Resolution and adhere to the Resolution Code of Practice. Many have specialist accreditations and are qualified mediators and collaborative lawyers.
We offer an initial fixed fee meeting to all new clients and strive to provide a cost-effective service which puts the best interests of our clients and their children at the heart of what we do.
If you would like more information or to book an initial fixed fee meeting please call 020 7940 4000 and ask to speak to a member of the family department. You can also contact us by sending a mail at email@example.com.
* 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.*