As the name implies, family law handles family-related matters such as divorce, child custody and arrangements, domestic abuse, and family finances. An experienced family law solicitor in the UK guides you through complex and sensitive family issues with empathy, confidence, and professionalism.
Choosing the right family solicitor for your unique legal needs can be daunting, with numerous solicitors in the market. Family issues can be stressful and draining, increasing the probability of a wrong choice. Read on to learn five effective ways to select the right family solicitor to protect your interests and ensure a favorable legal outcome.
Consider the Solicitor’s Credentials
Today, many solicitors are general practitioners and tackle almost all legal issues, from traffic to divorce and real estate. While such a solicitor is knowledgeable about a vast range of legal issues, it is best practice to settle for a family law solicitor specializing in the niche.
The best specialist family law solicitors are skilled and experienced and know the ins and outs of the field.
Notably, a good solicitor should be accredited by the Law Society or Resolution. Accreditation is proof of a solicitor’s knowledge and competence and observance of high client service and ethics standards. It also demonstrates specialist expertise in the practice area, meaning they can handle the demands and complexities of your case.
Check the Solicitor’s Reputation
Besides being skilled and having years of experience in family law, a solicitor should have a good reputation. You can ask your friends and family for referrals to good family law solicitors they have used in the past. Research shows that friends and family are the most trusted information source by 93% of consumers.
Review platforms, social media networks, and the solicitor’s website are promising avenues to check a solicitor’s reputation. Review platforms like Yelp, BBB, and Angi are excellent places to start and check what previous customers say about the solicitor. Nowadays, most business websites have a testimonials page where customers can learn about past clients’ experiences.
Look for a Client-First Attitude
The main difference between a good solicitor and a great one is the client-first attitude, which shows in many ways. First, the solicitor should be an avid communicator, shielding against unnecessary aggravation, anxiety, and delay.
It’s natural to have many inquiries and concerns when undergoing a divorce, custody, or family financial dispute. A great lawyer should answer any questions truthfully and address concerns diligently.
Second, the solicitor should be available in person and through common communication channels. When you set up a meeting with a solicitor, you don’t want one who is barely available due to too many workloads. Also, the solicitor should return calls and respond to emails promptly. It is best practice to ask a solicitor about their preferred communication channel.
Third, a great solicitor is insightful, offering the clients many options and alternatives and giving them time to decide on the best one. Since family law cases involve sensitive parties like children and crucial assets such as family businesses and inherited properties, thoroughness is crucial.
Whether establishing your kids’ welfare after a divorce, the status of a matrimonial home, or the effect of separation on family business, an experienced solicitor should assist in determining the best way to handle these issues and navigate through life with minimal impact.
Understand Legal Costs
Before selecting a family law solicitor, ask about the legal charges. Typically, most solicitors in the UK charge an hourly rate, and the cumulative cost depends on the case’s duration, complexity, and conditions. You want a solicitor who is transparent about their hourly rates and other charges you may incur.
While it’s important to consider legal costs, it should not be the determining factor when choosing a solicitor. Watch out for solicitors charging very low costs; it may indicate incompetence or hidden costs.
Similarly, be wary of solicitors with exorbitant charges since they may not guarantee high-quality legal services. Opt for a solicitor with competitive and transparent charges.
Schedule a Meeting
Meet with prospective solicitors to determine if they are a good match. As mentioned earlier, family matters are sensitive and emotional. As such, you want to feel comfortable working with the professional and disclosing sensitive and possibly embarrassing information.
A meeting also allows you to assess the lawyer’s skills and personality. You don’t want to settle for a solicitor who doesn’t listen to your concerns, answer questions thoroughly, or isn’t empathic. While a lawyer may be qualified, the case becomes difficult and takes longer if you don’t get along.
Here are a few questions to ask a solicitor during the first meeting.
- What are your qualifications, experience, and specialization?
- Do you have experience with similar cases?
- What’s your strategy for handling my case –key strengths and weaknesses?
- What is the likely outcome for my case?
- How much do you charge, and which payment plans do you have?
- Who will be the chief point of contact at the firm?
Whether you want a divorce, navigating custody issues, planning an adoption, or experiencing another family issue in the UK, working with a reputable family law solicitor is crucial. An experienced solicitor eases your mind in an emotionally-charged time and strives to protect your interests and attain optimal legal outcomes.
The effective ways discussed above will help you choose a good solicitor, save time and money, and safeguard you from choosing the wrong solicitor and losing the case.