How to Choose the Right Family Lawyer
Whether you’re getting a divorce, trying to resolve a child custody dispute or seeking legal protections due to domestic violence, you want to have the right legal professional on your side. Family law issues can often be complex and emotional, but having a knowledgeable and approachable solicitor to guide you through the legal processes can make all the difference, not only to the final outcome of your case, but also in terms of your overall experience. So, what should you look for? Here are a few questions to ask which can help you choose the right family lawyer.
- Do they work for a reputable law firm? Using a respected and established law firm means you are more likely to receive a high standard of legal services. Look at their website to check they are registered with the appropriate governing bodies and review their accreditations. Also, don’t forget to visit independent online review sites to see what other customers think of their work. If they’re a local law firm, ask around – word of mouth is often a useful way to get an overview of their general reputation.
- Do they have the appropriate experience? You need someone who has the necessary skills and expertise to get the best outcome for you. So, find out how long they’ve been practising family law and whether they have any areas of specialism. Take note of any professional memberships or positions they may hold - it can be a good indicator of their dedication and knowledge regarding the particular area of family law that relates to your case.
- Do they practice collaborative law and mediation? A good family lawyer will do their best to help you find a positive solution and settle any dispute as amicably as possible. Solicitors who have proven mediation and negotiation skills can be a real asset. If you want to resolve a family law dispute, it’s a good idea to look for solicitors who take a constructive, collaborative law approach and follow the Resolution Code of Practice.
- Do they put you at ease? Family legal matters often involve sharing sensitive and personal information with your solicitor, so you need to feel comfortable talking to them. Trust is extremely important. You need to know that the person you choose will treat your case with the sensitivity, professionalism and discretion it deserves. If you feel a particular lawyer isn’t a good fit for you, don’t be afraid to move on and find another solicitor who is better suited.
- Do they explain things in plain English? Find someone who can communicate clearly and simply rather than bombard you with legal jargon. You need to be confident that they are able to guide you through the legal process, keeping you informed and involved every step of the way. If you find a solicitor hard to understand or connect with, it might be better to move on to someone who has a communication style more suited to your needs.
- Will they be the person dealing with your case? When you spend time choosing the right person for the job, the last thing you want is for your case to be passed off to others. Ask whether your solicitor will be your main contact and the person who is actually handling your case. Dealing with a dedicated solicitor who knows you and all the details of your legal matter can make all the difference.
- Are they happy to answer your questions? Openness and clarity are very important - you should never feel that you can’t ask your solicitor questions. They are there to advise and support you in what is often a difficult time in your life, so you want someone who is responsive and sensitive to your need for information. If they’re not communicative and approachable, it might be worth finding more suitable help elsewhere.
- Are they open about legal fees and do they offer flexible payment options? Affording legal fees can be a worry, so you need to have clarity on the costs and the way in which you may be able to pay them. Ask your family law solicitor for clear information and breakdowns regarding charges and find out whether you may be able to take up any offers of flexible fees, reduced hourly rates or pay as you go options or whether you’re eligible for Legal Aid. Also, don’t be tempted to go for the lowest bidder when it comes to legal fees. There’s truth in the old adage that you get what you pay for. While you don’t want to be charged exorbitant fees, you need to be realistic about paying a reasonable rate for good quality services.
Selecting a family lawyer is a very personal choice that has to work for you on many levels so it's worth doing your homework and taking the time to find the right person for the job.
Our experienced, dedicated and friendly family law solicitors are here to help you with a wide range of legal issues, from relationship breakdowns and financial disputes, to care proceedings and protection orders. If you’d like legal advice on your family matters, please get in touch with your nearest Rowberry Morris office.
- For Reading based family law queries call: 01189 585 611
- For Richmond based family law queries call: 01784 457 655
- For Staines based family law queries call: 01784 457 655
- For Tadley based family law queries call: 01189 812 992
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.