By Melanie Rubin
It’s common at this time of year to have a surge in family law and divorce enquiries. People often use the end of year break to consider their lives and come to the realisation to end a relationship that is not working out for them. They decide that this is the year to get a handle on their lives and to move forward to enjoy the rest of their life’s journey. Selecting a family lawyer is not a simple matter; you don’t take the first you find in your internet search.
You should take time to select a lawyer best for your particular needs. Here are some pointers for you to think about:
- There is nothing wrong with conducting an interview with a lawyer to “suss” things out.You will have the opportunity to ask questions to determine their level of experience, see how they interact with you and whether they speak plain English. You will also find out whether their style fits with yours and see if the two of you are a good fit.
- Be prepared that a high-quality lawyer will not tell you what you want to hear rather they will tell you what you need to hear. Therein lies the difference for many. Appreciate that that’s not always an easy message for the lawyer to deliver. It takes guts and confidence but that’s the least you should expect from your family lawyer. Your lawyer should be honest and use their experience to guide you to ensure that your case progresses.
- If you have young children, look for a lawyer who will make clear that you will need to put their needs first and that they will not simply act as a mouthpiece for you if you are making unreasonable demands in relation to your children. A family lawyer who is aware of the importance of your children is an asset in your case. Your lawyer will be integral in joining you to write your child’s “divorce story” and it is essential to have a family lawyer who will take you through the process to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your family.
- If your matter involves complicated property structures select a firm that has a commercial law department who can assist where necessary. Also ensure that your lawyer has close working relationships with other financial experts who have knowledge in that area.
- It will be necessary through the process to share very personal details about your life, your marriage and your finances. It is very important that you feel comfortable with the lawyer you pick.
- Consider whether a collaboratively trained lawyer will be appropriate. Collaborative law offers a fresh approach to resolving family law matters through a process of working together with your former partner and their lawyer to find a fair solution in relation to both financial and child related matters. It involves face to face meetings where things can be considered in a safe environment rather than time consuming letter writing back and forth.
- Most importantly, you should select a lawyer who will share and support your attitude to your divorce and one that will not escalate matters simply to increase the legal fees that you spend on your matter.
Take your time to pick a lawyer that is most appropriate for you and one who will give you the support and has the knowledge to make a world of difference in your divorce experience.