At Backhouse Solicitors we understand that seeking legal advice for any matter can be a daunting experience. Whether it is Family Law advice you need, you’re moving home and not sure which Conveyancers to use or perhaps you are a business owner who would like Employment Law advice or assistance with shareholder agreements, finding the right legal expert can be a challenge!

We have put together our ‘How to Find your Legal Expert’ series and hope that our tips and guidance will help along the way.

In this first edition, we are going to take you through our top tips and best practices when searching for your Family Law Solicitor.

There are several legal issues that may require you to appoint a Family Law Solicitor such as Divorce, Separation, Child Arrangements, Property and Financial issues or even Pre-nuptial Agreements. Family Law issues can often be stressful and emotional, so choosing the right solicitor for you is very important. Below are a few key tips to help.

Best Practices & Top Tips:

  1. Friends and Family Recommendations – Have any of your friends or relatives recently gone through a divorce? Have they used a solicitor to organise Child Arrangements or resolve Property and Financial issues? Was their experience with that solicitor positive?
  2. Website – Try a simple Google search and check if any solicitors near you offer the service you are looking for. Family law covers a vast range of issues so it’s always worth checking the firm can help before you investigate further.
  3. Google reviews – It is not as simple as choosing the first firm that appears when you search for Family Solicitors in your area. Look at their Google reviews. These are useful and often give you a feel for a company and allow you to see their overall rating.
  4. Legal Jargon – Does the business promote that they are legal jargon-free? This will be important when going through the process of getting divorced or child arrangements if you haven’t done it before. Legal jargon can make the process even more confusing so you want a Solicitor that will explain in plain English or will break down the legal jargon so you can better understand.
  5. Fee Transparency – some firms do not always communicate certain fees and although extra fees can be incurred depending on the level of complications in your case, these should always be explained so that there are no nasty surprises. Firms that state they will provide fee transparency is always a good sign.
  6. Comparing Costs – Although it is tempting to choose the cheapest firm, this can have consequences. You may not receive a quality service, they may not be qualified or insured and therefore we recommend you do your homework first.
  7. Initial consultation – Most law firms will offer an initial consultation, sometimes free of charge. If they do, it is a good opportunity to “try before you buy”. As Family Law cases are often sensitive finding a solicitor that you are comfortable with is important and this initial interview can help you decide if they are right for you. The consultation will also give you an indication of the complexity of your situation.
  8. Legal bodies and accreditations – Does the firm have all the necessary qualifications and accreditations to carry out the work? We will cover this in more detail in the next section.

Legal Bodies & Qualifications:

In addition to the top tips and best practices above, there are also certain legal bodies that firms should be regulated by or legal qualifications for individuals. Checking for these will ensure you are using services provided by legally regulated firms and individuals who are top-quality professionals in their field, keeping you and your legal matter safe.

SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) – the SRA logo and a registered number should easily be seen on the firm’s website and linked to a page that states the website has been verified by the SRA. This means that:

  • everyone who works for the firm must meet the high standards the SRA set
  • this firm must have the right level of insurance to protect you in case something goes wrong
  • you may be able to claim through the SRA Compensation Fund to have your money reimbursed if this firm or a solicitor working for it loses your money
  • you can complain to the SRA if you are concerned about the behaviour of this firm

Hiccups:

With Family Law matters, it’s important to remember how vital it is to use trusted legal experts, if you don’t, there are a range of problems that could occur.

  • Divorce – If you are considering a DIY divorce, you can read our dedicated article on the pitfalls of not seeking legal advice from a qualified solicitor.
  • Civil partnership breakdown and dissolution – Much like a divorce, a solicitor will be able to consider your shared assets and work on your behalf to ensure you get the best possible settlement based on the circumstances of your relationship and its breakdown. If you cannot agree on a settlement amicably, failing to use a solicitor can cause various issues and potentially cost you more in the long run.
  • Child Arrangements – In the interest of the child/children it is recommended that arrangements are agreed as amicably and quickly as possible. Not using a solicitor could slow this process down. If you and the other party cannot come to an agreement between yourselves and you feel legal representation is needed, look for a qualified Family solicitor. If the situation involves violence or abuse, you may need to take the other party to court to obtain an order to protect you, in which case, you will probably need a legal representative to act for you.
  • Pre-nuptial agreements – A pre-nup needs to be drawn up by a Family Law solicitor. Not seeking legal advice could leave you not understanding the full extent of the agreement and its requirements. Although the document isn’t legally binding, for it to have any meaning in the event of the relationship breaking down, it must be drawn up correctly.
  • Cohabitation Agreements – A cohabitation agreement will protect your finances and sets out details of what will happen if the relationship ends, or one party dies. Although templates are available for you to draft yourself, we would advise against it. A solicitor would ensure that various eventualities or incidents are covered within the agreement and that it is specific to you and that the agreement will be upheld in court.
  • Domestic Abuse – Situations involving domestic abuse can be extremely emotional and difficult to walk away from. Having a qualified solicitor by your side will help you to obtain the protection you need and deal with other issues that you may face such as housing, child arrangements, separation and divorce.

Having a solicitor representing you can help resolve the issues in a fair and reasonable manner in the hope of removing any animosity or aggravation. This is particularly important when children are involved, and the experts at Backhouse try their utmost to keep the situation as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

Family Law at Backhouse Solicitors:

If you are looking for the right Family Law Solicitor for you, our friendly, expert team can help. Contact us using the information below and book your free 30-minute consultation with one of our Family Law experts.

Coming Soon – How to Find your Legal Expert: Part 2 – Conveyancing

Tel:          01245 893400
Email:     info@backhouse-solicitors.co.uk
Visit:       17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, CM1 1JU
Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website.