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How to choose a family law solicitor

How to choose a family law solicitor

Many people have never had a reason to contact a solicitor, let alone a family law solicitor. However, if you are going through a relationship breakdown or if you are attempting to reach an agreement regarding your children or financial matters, seeking advice as early as possible from a solicitor who specialises in family law is essential in ensuring you know your rights and options.

The best way to ensure you are fully informed of what you are entitled to and what you can do is to instruct someone who knows what they are doing. With so many options available, it is usually a difficult process in deciding who to speak with.

We have therefore outlined some important things to consider before you decide who to instruct.

Are they an expert in family law?

It is always very important to make sure that the person you are seeing for advice is someone who is able to actually give that advice. Is the solicitor a specialist family law solicitor, or do they dabble in a bit of everything e.g. immigration, family, personal injury?

All of our solicitors are specialists in family law and most of us further specialize in either divorce, finances or children matters. You can read about the types of cases we have dealt with in the past here.

Are they recommended?

Sometimes you may have been recommended a family law solicitor by word of mouth from a colleague, family member or friend. However, not every case is the same and it is always helpful to look a bit deeper into what other clients have experienced from the solicitor or firm. You can find our reviews here – both from our peers, those we have worked with and from past and existing clients.

Is the price right?

In the majority of matters legal fees are not cheap. Some firms have a tendency to quote low and unrealistic prices in order to obtain your instructions, and then costs start mounting well above what you had initially expected.

We try to give estimates and, where possible, fixed fees in straightforward matters. We can also introduce you to litigation loan funders if your matter is heavily contested and legal fees cannot be met from your income or disposable assets.

The usual adages go – if it is too good to be true, it usually is and if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice.

Are they timing your first meeting?

Many solicitors will offer you 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even an hour initial meeting free of charge. These meetings are very generic where the solicitor will not read through any of your documents and is used to take basic information from you instead of focusing on what’s important - giving you advice on your rights and options to let you make the best decisions.

For most matters, we offer an untimed initial meeting for a fixed fee where you will be able to discuss your situation and receive advice on your options. We do not waste time during the meeting taking basic information as we obtain this from you prior to your meeting – therefore we focus on the real issues and provide legal advice. Where we cannot offer an untimed meeting, sometimes because your case is particularly complex or there are a lot of papers to read, we will offer you a fixed fee for specific work so you know what you are getting and can be confident that we are up to speed on your case when you come to see us.

Are you given clear and straightforward options?

We know it is essential, especially at the outset, for your solicitor to give you clear options. Some solicitors will avoid this and keep things vague – both in relation to your options and potential costs.

During your initial meeting with us, we always give you various options as best we can based on what you are seeking, as well as details of costs based on similar cases we have dealt with in the past.

What next?

Sometimes you may not have an issue that needs immediate action and you just want to plan ahead. At other times, there may be urgent work to be carried out. Whatever your needs are, we make sure that you are aware of the next steps and we set out how we can help you with that if you need us.

If you would like more information or advice about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law please contact our expert legal team on 02080040065, by email at hello@southgate.co.uk or using the form below.

The contents of this article is general information only. The information in this article is not legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should obtain independent expert advice from qualified solicitors such as those within our firm.

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