Getting a Divorce, What Should You Expect From Your Family Lawyer? By Sara Barnes | | The Law House

Getting a Divorce, What Should You Expect From Your Family Lawyer? By Sara Barnes

By in All Blogs, Family Law Category on January 15th, 2014

This week it has been reported in the news that a woman attempted to sue her solicitors for failing to advise her thatin getting a divorce it would in effect terminate her marriage.She argued that as a Roman Catholic she should have been advised to pursue a petition for Judicial Separation instead.Thankfully, common sense prevailed and the claim was dismissed.But what should you expect from your solicitor when you seek advice in relation to divorce or family issues?It can be a daunting prospect seeking legal advice for perhaps the first time in your life.Getting good advice is important.Here is my list of what you should expect from a good family lawyer when going through a divorce, and certainly what I think my clients should expect from me:

  1. Advice tailored to your circumstances.  You need to know what the law is in relation to your divorce, your finances, your children or whatever issue affects you, AND how it relates to your circumstances.  A good lawyer will give you advice about what is best for you and what may happen.An explanation as to the process involved in your case, whether it be seeking a divorce, dealing with financial matters or making an application to court to deal with children issues. This should include an estimate as to how long the process will take, and whether you will be required to go to court. 
  2. Advice about other options which are available such as mediation, negotiation or counselling.  In the majority of cases, matters can be resolved without contested court proceedings.
  3. Keep you up to date and informed of any developments.You should receive regular updates as to how matters are progressing and receive copies of significant letters or documents.
  4. Information about costs.You should expect to know how much your case is likely to cost; if appropriate, how often you will be invoiced and how much you will be expected to pay each month; and how costs can be met.Sometimes it is possible to obtain a litigation loan to cover your costs, sometimes you can agree to meet your costs at the end of your case.Your solicitor should be open to a discussion about how costs can be met.If you are eligible for Legal Aid you should be told you are or may be so that you have the opportunity to seek alternative advice if your solicitor does not undertake Legal Aid work.
  5. Information about other people who may be involved in your case or who you can speak to in the event your solicitor is not available.There is usually someone assisting your solicitor who you can speak to or who will make sure your solicitor will contact you when they are available.
  6. Advice to keep you safe. If you or your children are at risk of domestic violence, there is protection available and your solicitor will advise you as to how to obtain that protection from the police and/or court.
  7. Most important of all – willingness to listen to what you have to say and an honest opinion about your case.Friends are a great support but sometimes you just need to hear it like it is rather than what you want to hear!Your solicitor is there is support you as well.

The key thing to remember is that you should never be afraid to ask questions or challenge something if you don’t think it is right.This is your life!

If you want good, honest, practical advice about your family issues or divorce in general, contact me, Sara Barnes on 01245 809 556 or