Instructing a family lawyer is something you might only do once in your life, so knowing what questions to ask when you first talk to them is very important. I’ve suggested five key questions which are worth asking, to make sure you are getting the best possible, most appropriate service for your family law needs.
You will probably remember me as the little kid that got on your knee 40 years ago and told you that I had been advised by my lawyer that I did not have to answer whether I had been naughty or not. Guess what I am now a lawyer working in a family law practice.
In my experience as a divorce and family law solicitor I find that people often feel embarrassed asking basic legal questions as they feel that they will look stupid. I am asked the same questions time and time again and clients should never feel silly asking as it is important that they understand the basics so that I can do the best job for them.
The language we use around family law shapes how we think about it. This is the very simple rationale behind “custody” changing to “child arrangements” for example is to encourage parents to think of routines and not ownership. In contrast, the entirely justified move to prevent alleged victims of domestic violence being cross examined by former partners becomes rather sinister when we drop “alleged” and just refer to those former partners as “perpetrators” of domestic abuse because it means all accused of domestic violence are automatically guilty of it (which is a dangerous preconception to have).
As new terms started recently many students will have thought long and hard about the likely costs of going to university. In a BBC article a few months ago the average student debt was calculated to be an eye watering £57,000. Having had a full grant and a job in the university cafeteria it was a less of a worry when I was studying law but now it’s a serious burden that children and parents must think about.