From time to time, we all run into problems that can’t be resolved independently. When those problems relate to family matters, a family law solicitor can offer impartial guidance and legal representation to bring about a suitable resolution.
Whether you’re going through a divorce and negotiating child arrangements (who children live with/spend time with) issues, are a victim of domestic abuse, or require a financial settlement to be reached after a relationship breaks down, a family law solicitor can guide you through the often complex legal system.
What do family law solicitors do?
As the name suggests, a family law solicitor specialises in matters relating to family law. This area of law is rarely straightforward, meaning an experienced, empathetic, and compassionate solicitor is crucial to minimising stress and uncertainty and securing a favourable outcome.
Family law is a broad area of law. It covers matters such as:
- Divorce and separation
- Financial settlements
- Child arrangements (who children live with/spend time with)
- Domestic abuse
- Care proceedings
- Discharge of Care Orders
- Emergency Protection Orders
- Forced marriages
- Female Genital Mutilation
In addition to offering guidance on the best course of action in your case, your appointed solicitor will also provide practical support as part of their responsibilities towards you. This could range from representing you in court and negotiating with third parties on your behalf to compiling evidence, preparing reports, drafting of statements such as witness declarations, or drafting of pleadings.
They may carry out mediation between the parties involved to reach a settlement agreement without going to court or liaise with experts such as psychologists, medical professionals, and the police on your behalf.
Examples of how a family law solicitor can help
Following the breakdown of her relationship, National Legal Service’s family solicitors were able to help Natasha obtain a Non-Molestation Order against her abusive former partner and a Child Arrangement Order to formalise terms of contact. This included a stipulation that any issues regarding the children were dealt with via text message only for Natasha’s protection and peace of mind.
Our family law solicitors helped Sadie to obtain a Non-Molestation Order and an Occupation Order against an abusive former partner who still lived in her home. The Occupation Order required Sadie’s ex to leave the property, so she could return safely to her place of residence.
A family law solicitor will frequently work on cases involving children. In one recent example, National Legal Service’s family lawyers helped Alice to prove to the courts that her children were at risk of harm from a third party. This meant a Prohibited Steps Order could be issued, which prevents one parent from removing the children from the other parent or taking them out of the country without consent.
Do solicitors offer free advice?
Litigation and court proceedings can be costly and not everyone will be able to afford ongoing legal support in the event of a lengthy case.
No two cases are ever the same, so most family solicitors will offer an initial consultation at no cost. The initial consultation can be carried out over the phone or in person and will allow the solicitor to hear details of the issue the individual is experiencing. During this meeting, the family solicitor may offer initial recommendations and guidance with suggestions for the most appropriate course of action moving forwards.
The Legal Aid system ensures access to a solicitor for those unable to afford the cost of legal advice or representation. Access to Legal Aid is dependent on several factors, including the type of case. There may be a requirement for the individual to pay some of the costs.
For those who can pay, an hourly rate is usually charged. This rate will be based on an assessment of the case and the experience and qualifications of the appointed solicitor. In some instances, a fixed-fee payment may be agreed.
Can you have a solicitor at family court?
While it isn’t a legal requirement to have a solicitor attend family court with you, the presence of an expert in family law can help to reduce stress, diffuse tension between parties, avoid confusion or misunderstandings, and ensure that you are fully appraised of all aspects of the court proceedings.
Having a solicitor at family court means that you’ll be able to ask questions and get clear answers throughout what may be a lengthy and complicated process and be clear on any requirements issued by the court.
Can I go to family court without a solicitor?
You can attend family court without a solicitor. However, this often isn’t recommended as a course of action due to the complex and highly emotive nature of family law. You can also be at a disadvantage if the other party has legal representation and you do not, as you won’t have access to the same level of expertise or understanding.
With offices across the UK, National Legal Service provides local family law expertise with national reach. If you’d like to schedule a consultation to discuss your case, please complete our form to request a callback.