You Can’t Choose Your Family, But You Can Choose Your Family Lawyer
In our earlier blog, Separation – It’s a team effort, we reiterated the importance of a person having a number of different supporters, or a “whole team” to help them cope through each stage of a separation.
Members of the “team” usually include:
- Family members and close friends to provide emotional support, to accompanythe person to appointments and for just being there to talk with when needed;
- Medical and allied health professionals to assist a person with any treatment or counselling they may require, including the confidential discussion of matters that a person may not feel comfortable in discussing with family or friends; and
- A Family Lawyer to assist in providing advice as to a person’s rights, obligations and entitlements, so they “know where they stand”.
Whilst the well-known adage states that you can’t choose your family, you can choose your Family Lawyer and it is extremely important that you choose carefully. In this blog, we deal with some practical tips to assist you in making the right decision in choosing the right fit Family Lawyer for your “team”.
Choose an Expert
It is important to seek advice from a Family Lawyer who practices solely in Family Law, as they do this work, day in, day out and are aware of the intricacies of the Family Law system. Be aware of seeking advice from Law Firms who practice in a myriad of areas, listing Family Law as one of many of their services.
First Impressions Count
Most Firms will offer a short free appointment or a reduced rate initial consultation. These appointments are ideal for determining whether you and the Family Lawyer are the right fit for one another and whether you can see yourself working with the Family Lawyer. Don’t be afraid to call many Firms before you find the right fit. It is important when you call Firms, that you speak to the actual Lawyer. If a Firm is unwilling to allow you to speak to a Family Lawyer initially free of charge, you run a risk in booking a paid appointment without first being aware of whether there is a possibility that the Lawyer is the right fit.
The Importance of Plain English
Separation is a difficult path to navigate, made more difficult due to emotions running high. It is important to find a “down to earth” Family Lawyer, one that speaks to you as a real person and doesn’t talk down to you in legalistic language.
Hourly Rate is not Everything
Whilst hourly rate is important, it is not everything, as experience of the Family Lawyer should be the real consideration. Whilst a Family Lawyer may have a lower hourly rate, due to their lack of experience, they may take longer to undertake a task, which is ultimately chargeable to you as Client and in the end, it may not be undertaken to the same standard.
Don’t Feel Obligated
Whilst the costs of changing Family Lawyers must always be assessed should you decide to change representation, it is important that you don’t feel bound to that Lawyer. In the end, you are paying the Family Lawyer’s invoices. You are the Client and you are in control. If you have lost confidence in your Family Lawyer, end your Client-Lawyer relationship and find another Lawyer.
Check Google Reviews and Testimonials
Whilst not a factor to look at in isolation, it is important to look at what other people are saying about the Family Lawyer. If there is a negative review, look to the response of the Firm, as this will often be telling about the personality of the Firm and the Lawyers working within it. In the end however, nothing beats a personal referral. If you know family members or friends who have been through separation before, ask them about their experiences and which Family Lawyer they may have used.
Don’t Be Too Concerned About Location
Whilst it is something to consider, most dealings in a Family Law matter can be attended to by way of telephone or email communication. There is usually very little face to face contact, outside of Court or Mediation attendances. If you find a Family Lawyer who you feel is the right fit for you, but is not close-by, this may work and from experience, does work, considering that we have Clients who live Australia-wide.
Avoid the Bulldog
An aggressive Family Lawyer will not get you anywhere, other than to get you uptight and frustrate the other party and their Family Lawyer. It is not unusual that such aggression will only delay any settlement and more often than not, such Lawyers just want to push your matter to Court, as in the end, this results in higher fees for them. Choose a settlement focused Family Lawyer, but not one that is too complacent, as whilst a Family Lawyer needs to be settlement focused, they also must be a strong advocate, should Court proceedings be necessary.
If you have any questions, or want to speak with one of our Gold Coast Family Lawyers or Logan Family Lawyers to see whether they could be the right fit for your “team”, please call our office on (07) 5679 8016 for free family law advice.