A question we're often asked by people separating from their partner, or by parents who are unable to agree particular issues relating to their child/ren, is why do I need a solicitor?
One simple answer could be that as legally trained experts solicitors are better equipped to apply relevant legal principles to your particular circumstances – but most people realise that for themselves.
Another reason could be that contrary to common belief solicitors do not rub their hands with glee, ready to crank up the heat and stir things up a bit, when they are instructed on a new case.
Solicitors have a duty to act in their client's best interests, and that includes bringing their legal issue to a conclusion in the most cost-effective way. We believe it also includes a duty to help client's achieve a resolution in the least stressful way. So with a good family law solicitor working with you you can be sure of the best legal advice giving you clarity about the options available to you, and you should be able to maintain your emotional and financial well-being.
The single most important reason for instructing a solicitor to help you through a relationship breakdown or parenting disagreement is that they can help you identify the best resolution method for you. Most clients are aware that their issues can be resolved in court, but far too many believe that is their only option.
Solicitors can explain to you that is not the case, there are alternative forms of dispute resolution which do not involve going to court and are often far less stressful.
Mediation is of course one way of resolving differences, and involves both partners/parents meeting with one mediator whose job is to build on common ground to reach an agreed settlement. Each partner/parent then instructs their own solicitor to give legal effect to the agreement reached.
Another less well known method is collaborative law.
The collaborative way of working is extremely successful – Resolution () report that 85% of cases are resolved in this way – and also involves both partners/parents meeting but they do so each with their own collaborative lawyer.
Both lawyers work with both partners/parents to explore all of the issues each feels is important, help reach a resolution and then give it legal effect. The received wisdom is that collaborative practice provides a very constructive way to reach agreements, and better enables partners/parents to continue to work together for the good of the family.
In conclusion the purpose of the modern family law solicitor is to help clients to resolve their legal issues as cheaply and quickly as possible, while minimising the stress and anxiety the legal processes can cause....