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Guide to a Family Solicitor

There are many solicitors who undertake work in relation to family law. It is possible that by the time you feel that you need to contact a family solicitor, you will have already been through quite an emotional period. Therefore, it is important that you find a family solicitor who understands your situation and who will provide reliable and accredited advice in relation to the options available to you and give you guidance regarding your next steps.

What is a family solicitor?

Family law is a practice area that deals with legal issues between two people who have been in a relationship, whether that be marriage, a civil partnership or living together. Many of these issues arise when the relationship ends, but this isn’t always necessarily the case. A family law solicitor will generally deal with the following:

Other areas that family law solicitors may specialise in are:

  • Adoption
  • Surrogacy
  • Child protection

What does a family solicitor do?

The role of a family solicitor can vary greatly from case to case, depending on how matters progress, but the main responsibilities of a family lawyer are:

  • Advising clients on their options and what their rights are in an effective and empathic way;
  • Advising clients what rights their ex-partner has;
  • Liaising and corresponding with other professionals, as may be required, including other solicitors, barristers and any experts who may need to be instructed, such as psychologists or pension actuaries;
  • Attempting to resolve cases outside of court through alternative dispute resolution;
  • If court proceedings are issued, advising clients and carrying out the directions as stipulated by the court within the given timetable;
  • Attending court hearings;
  • Drafting and reviewing court documents, such as court applications, court orders (including consent orders and child arrangement orders) and witness statements;
  • Research on any past cases that may be relevant to your matter and keeping up-to-date with any changes to the law or legal procedures.

When might you need a family solicitor?

We understand that when a relationship comes to an end, talking to a family solicitor may be the last thing on your mind, but it is important that you get legal advice early on so that any financial hardship or damage can be avoided and to ensure that a fair outcome is achieved for everyone involved.

If you need to go to court about your child, it is best to get legal advice and support. Family court proceedings can become complicated, and if your ex-partner has a solicitor and you don’t, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, out of your depth and at a disadvantage. A family solicitor will work with you to try and diffuse any tension between you and explore the possibility of resolving matters outside of court.

How much does a family solicitor cost?

There is no set answer to this question as it varies greatly from case to case. It is notoriously difficult to estimate what the financial costs are likely to be in family law cases. This is because it is not always clear how the case is going to progress or what the response of the other party may be, and what the nature and extent of any assets may be.

There are many factors that can influence costs, such as:

  • How amicable matters are between you – how both you and your ex behaves will have an influence costs. Being open to discussions or negotiations should allow matters to be resolved swiftly, and by association, solicitors costs should be lower than if matters are highly contested and drawn out.
  • Whether any experts need to be instructed – if matters are complex then it may be necessary to instruct an expert to help clarify any issues.
  • Whether court proceedings are issued.
  • Whether any form of alternative dispute resolution is undertaken – although there are costs involved with alternative dispute resolution, in the long run these are generally less than if matters go to court.

On top of solicitors fees, there will also be court fees for any applications that need to be made.

At Hawkins Family Law, we will always provide you with an estimate of costs at the start of your case. This will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and any changes to that estimate will be explained. In addition, we will regularly advise you of the cost/risk benefit of pursing an issue or matter.

Do I need a family solicitor?

You do not need a family solicitor to deal with family law matters, such as divorce or child arrangements, but as mentioned previously, it is always best to obtain legal advice so that not only do you have support, but you can also avoid any accidental errors that may be irreversible or have a detrimental effect.

When considering which family solicitor to contact, look for those who are Resolution accredited. Resolution is an organisation that promotes a constructive approach to family law issues, considering the needs of the whole family.

Benefits of a family solicitor

When dealing with a family law issue, getting legal advice will help you understand the process better, find the best solutions and assist with drafting any legal documents that may be needed. The benefits of working with a family solicitor are:

  1. Support and guidance – professional, knowledgeable advice from a family lawyer will help you to make the right decisions for you and your family. At Hawkins Family Law, we will explain everything to you clearly and answer any questions you may have every step of the way.
  2. Making the process easier and avoiding errors – legal processes can be complicated, with terminology you may never have come across before. If you don’t understand what is being asked of you, it can hold things up or potentially put you in a vulnerable position. Having a specialist family solicitor to assist you through the process will ensure that errors are avoided.
  3. Advice as and when you need it – at Hawkins Family Law, we will use our wealth of experience to provide you with reliable, relevant advice to help you reach a fair resolution.
  4. Expertise and years of practice – specialising in family law and dealing with family law processes on a daily basis means that we know how those processes work and how to get the best results.
  5. Keeping up-to-date – family law changes all the time, sometimes in a major way (such as the No Fault Divorce Bill) and sometimes in a much smaller way (such as a change to how a court application needs to be made). A family solicitor will always be aware of any current changes and the impact that they may have.

Why choose Hawkins Family Law?

We are a specialist law firm, focusing solely on family law matters and everything that comes with these life-changing events. Established in 2001, at Hawkins Family Law team we are all “people” people, and are committed to producing rounded outcomes for our clients, offering expertise in whatever forum works best for you, always aiming to bring matters to a swift solution with the minimum pain. In addition, all of our family lawyers are members of Resolution.

We can provide legal advice and assistance relating to your children, separation and financial matters and can offer advice as to the way in which you choose to solve your issues with your partner or ex-partner. We offer these services whether you are married, co-habiting or in a civil partnership.

The way in which you approach your family law matter is your choice but, with Hawkins Family Law, you can be assured of our consistently high levels of support and guidance. If you are looking for reliable and accredited legal advice regarding any family law issues you may be experiencing, speak to one of our team today.

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