If you are separating from your partner, finding a family lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
Most Family Court cases involve emotions running high and those things that matter the most to us being at stake: your children, your homes and your financial security.
So how can you be best prepared to make the right choice about a lawyer?
There is one golden rule when choosing a family lawyer: talk to people. Especially in this most personal and emotional of journeys, recommendation is king. Arm yourself with an arsenal of personal advice from people with experience in what you are about to go through.
Everyone knows someone who has been through the process you are facing, so ask your family, friends, work colleagues or anyone else who they went to and what their experience was like. Trust me; everyone who has been a family lawyer’s client will be happy to share their experiences and advice. When enquiring about lawyers, ask lots of questions:
- Did their lawyer ‘know their stuff’?
- Did they understand what was important to their client and listen to the client?
- Did the lawyer not only give good legal advice but also give good process advice and tell them when they were going wrong?
- Did they talk about costs and leave the client with a good understanding of the cost structure?
- Are they known for working towards a fair resolution or for dragging cases through the courts?
And, of course, once you have spoken to people about their recommendations, you need to talk to your prospective lawyer. After speaking with them, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are they someone you feel understands and listens to you?
- Do you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing information with them?
- Do you feel that they thoroughly informed you of your legal rights and responsibilities?
- Did their advice and approach resonate with you?
- What do you know about their experience in the field? Are you confident in their ability to represent you in a knowledgeable, qualified and skilled way?
- Are you comfortable with your understanding of the cost structure? Is it clear and transparent? Is it appropriate to your circumstances?
A family law case is likely to place you under intense emotional pressure, so it is important that you find the right lawyer to help you through this time.