Going through a relationship breakdown can be tough, and even more so if children are involved. Not all family breakdowns require a family lawyer, but when you decide you require assistance from a legal practitioner, who you decide to choose will be important in the longer term.
Firstly it is important to know that both you and your ex-spouse can not use the same lawyer, and generally if you have a lawyer that has acted for you both previously you should look to retaining an independent lawyer who specialises in family law.
A good family lawyer is one who aligns with your own values. Different family lawyers will have different styles. Some will want to take a collaborative approach, where they try really hard to resolve your matter outside of Court. Others may want to ‘put the gloves on’ and go straight to court. There are many somewhere in between, but it is important that you think about what kind of lawyer you want and feel confident with your family lawyers approach. At your first appointment, you can ask questions to get a good feel for your lawyers approach. It is also essential that you feel comfortable with your lawyer.
At the first appointment, it is important that you feel valued, listened to and respected. You should also make sure you understand the advice you are being given, and feel comfortable enough to ask any questions you have.
A good lawyer will be experienced and offer strategies and advice on how to proceed in your matter, and should also explain the risks and costs associated with that pathway. Avoid lawyers that promise you outcomes as no lawyer can tell you the future and what the outcome will definitely be or what a Judge might order in your matter. They should offer solid advice but no large promises. A good family lawyer will put you at ease by helping you understand what to expect in your matter, and the pathway ahead in your particular family law matter, whether it be divorce, childrens matters or property matters. You should walk away feeling well informed and empowered.
One of the most important things to remember in choosing your family lawyer is not to leave it too long. If you are the instigator of the breakup then you may wish to get advice prior to separation. If the break up has come as a shock, you should have it as one of your priorities to obtain family law advice so you know where you stand. Some of the most important decisions are made at or very soon after the time of separation, and forming a trusting relationship with a family lawyer early on is an enormous benefit.
Here at Peter Fisher Lawyers we have an experienced family law team who are dedicated to helping people through their family matters with care, understanding and capability. For more information, call our Family Law team on 8296 2690.