Family solicitors have to work within The Family Law Protocol. The Protocol sets out best practice for family law proceedings in order to promote clients’ best interests. This Protocol exists to ensure that solicitors address proceedings with the same mindset.
The Protocol covers various matters and this blog focuses on the Protocol and Divorce proceedings.
At the outset, the Protocol requires the solicitor to give consideration to reconciliation and to refer the client to the relevant agency if this is a realistic option. This is done to avoid hasty decisions being made.
The breakdown of a marriage has a particular impact on any children of the family. The Protocol clearly sets out the considerations to be had in respect of the children. It reminds solicitors that they should encourage their clients to separate their needs from their needs of the children.
Family lawyers unfortunately have this reputation of aggravating matters on the breakdown of a relationship. However, this could not be further from the truth. The Protocol requires solicitors to communicate in a non-confrontational and constructive manner. By taking this approach it is intended that the parties focus on the issues at hand to reach an amicable resolution.
Recent cuts in funding has meant that more people are representing themselves than ever before. The Protocol provides guidance on how to approach a spouse who is representing him/herself.
A common misconception that clients have is that they can surprise their spouse with a divorce petition. The Protocol does not encourage this at all. It is considered good practice to notify the spouse that it is your intention to issue proceedings. There has to be a very good reason not to do so, such as domestic abuse.
By providing notice, you provide time for your spouse to obtain legal representation and an opportunity to agree the contents of your divorce petition and so avoid defended divorce proceedings. Any petition issued without adherence to the Protocol for a good reason will be met with the court’s disapproval.
We at the Law House pride ourselves on adhering to the Family Law Protocol and if your relationship is going through a difficult period then please do not hesitate to contact me, Hardeep Dhillon, at The Law House Solicitors on 020 3150 2525. Alternatively, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org