When you are in the midst of a relationship breakdown, emotions can take over,
but emotional decisions are rarely good decisions. Even when in a more controlled stated, we all need information in order to make informed and rational decisions.
Decisions taken at the outset of the breakdown of a relationship can have a significant effect on later financial settlement, care of the children or even just on the ongoing relationship between two persons as parents.
Whether you are facing a temporary period of "space and time", a divorce or dissolution, or the breakdown of your cohabitation, the right legal advice and pragmatic information as to options, rights and responsibilities is important.
The big question is where to go to receive such advice. The internet is always a good start point. Friends and relatives will all have some "advice" of their own. The myths and anecdotes from colleagues or the media just serve to confuse and strike fear into the hearts of most people. None will have the measured advice of an experienced family lawyer nor the detail tailored to your own unique circumstances.
That is why it is always important to obtain legal advice early and from the right solicitor. What factors should influence your choice of solicitor for family law advice? Here are a few points to consider when making your choice;
- Initial meeting - is this going to be with an experienced solicitor who handles family law matters full time? Can you choose when the appointment is going to be and can this be outside of usual office hours - even at your own office or home in some cases. Is the appointment entirely confidential ie not with a "drop in" surgery type appointment? Is there a charge for the first appointment?
- Experience - regretfully many solicitors believe that first appointments should be conducted by junior members of staff who may miss critical and time sensitive matters or provide advice which may impact adversely upon the future of your case. Family Law is not an exact science. It takes years of hands on legal experience to provide good family law advice.
- Support - Individual solicitors are sometimes unavailable when needed whether due to work commitments or holidays. It is therefore important that there are other solicitors in the family law team who are equally able to provide back up at the right qualification level, in the absence of your chosen solicitor.
- Independent accreditation - Does the solicitor have accreditation in family law from an independent body and is the level of/area covered by that accreditation right for your case. Many legal firms buy entries into legal directories which are then flagged up on their websites. Look for the accreditation offered by Resolution (the independent body which represents family lawyers for England and Wales) which is achieved by independent written examination and assessment of past cases.
- Communication - Family situations do not merely arise 9 am - 5 pm. Worrying about something can sometimes be easily resolved with a short conversation. That is why access to legal advice should be available outside of working hours. Does the firm have a family law solicitor available to call outside of hours?
- Charges - Costs of any legal procedure are an important part of the process for you. An estimate of charges should be provided at the outset of the case. Are the charge rates competitive and will the solicitor account to you on a monthly basis so that you are kept up to date and can control what charges are being incurred? Will that account come accompanied by a full itemised print out of all work carried out on your behalf and at what cost?
Jarvis Family Law LLP Solicitors in Harrogate can meet all the positive criteria set out above. However sometimes it just comes down to plain and simple whether you feel you can work with the individual solicitor. For a confidential appointment with one of our experienced solicitors at no charge and with no obligation please contact Angela Moores.
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