How do I Choose my Family Lawyer?
Separation can be one of the most stressful and emotionally charged experiences in your life, where you will need to think clearly and make big decisions about your future (and in some cases the future of your children). It’s not something that you would want to get wrong, and the right guidance can go a long way to obtaining a successful outcome.
So, how should you go about choosing a family lawyer?
If your lawyer is talking about taking you to Court before they’ve asked you what you really want out of their time with you, this should send alarm bells ringing.
Unfortunately, there are many in the industry who don’t take a collaborative approach to family law practice. This often costs their clients more in legal fees and time in the long run, especially if their matter ends up in Court.
Lawyers that take a collaborative approach aim to help their clients reach an agreement with the other side. They try to keep their clients out of Court whenever possible.
As specialist family lawyers, we were the first firm to bring Collaboration to Australia, which is a process where all parties sign an agreement not to go to Court and conduct a series of collaborative meetings in order to reach a mutually suitable agreement.
We also offer innovative services, such as Settle by Sunday which allows you and your ex to work together to reach agreement and draft your documents all in a single weekend with the help of all the experts you need. This allows you to have control of both your personal time and outcome – it also costs significantly less than if you negotiated over an extended period of time through lawyers.
Choose a firm that specialises in family law. This may seem obvious, but we often encounter other parties who have engaged a generalist lawyer or a lawyer that specialises in a different type of law who only practises family law on the rare occasion.
A specialist in family law is going to be your best chance at success in getting an outcome that suits you at a fair price. Most of our lawyers are practising family law every single day, which makes them the best at what they do.
Most firms will have reviews on Google, Facebook and their website. You should look at a combination of these to get a big picture view of what their clients say about them.
Firms with a large number of reviews and a good spread of feedback are likely to be more established and reputable.
However, the best indicator of quality is getting a direct recommendation from someone that you know. Online reviews are sometimes difficult to pick apart, so we recommend that you speak to a reputable lawyer or other professional you know to ask for a family law specialist, or a friend knows a good family lawyer.
Bringing in the Right Expert
Knowing when to bring in an expert is a good indication that your lawyer has your best interests in mind.
In complex cases, having as many eyes on your matter as possible means that we can tackle the issues from many different angles.
For example, in cases involving the family business, a large property pool, companies or trusts, our clients benefit from our top-tier accounting and business advisory team who are accustomed to servicing high-net worth clientele with complex business interests.
Our Child & Family Specialist assists our clients in dealing with the emotions attached to the separation and assist your lawyer in formulating evidence and a strategy for your matter. Our specialist will also assist you with formulating a plan for your safety in family violence situations.
It is common knowledge that lawyers have hourly rates and charge in 6 minute increments. However, comparing lawyers by their hourly is usually risky as you may not get the same value or efficiency from a lawyer with a lower hourly rate than an experienced lawyer with a higher hourly rate. In almost all circumstances, and certainly within this firm, a lawyers hourly rate is matched to their skill, expertise and the level of value you will experience if obtaining their services.
Our recommendation is that you attend an initial meeting with a lawyer or talk to one over the phone and asked for a fixed-fee quote or a detailed costs estimate for your particular circumstances. This will give you a better idea of their fees as well as a feel for the way that they approach the law.
- Look for a lawyer who will create a process that suits you and who looks at all of the alternative dispute resolution options before going to court;
- Only engage a specialist family lawyer;
- Ask around and read reviews on the firm and the lawyers;
- Don’t decide based on hourly rates alone as this might not be the best way of getting value for money and won’t give you an idea of the overall cost; and
- Meet any potential lawyers to determine whether you connect and feel comfortable dealing with the lawyer.
Finding the right lawyer to take you down the right path is important as the incorrect approach may make matters worse and result in additional costs and stresses involved in unnecessarily protracted processes.
FGD is a big firm by family law standards. Our people are from a diverse range of backgrounds and have specialised experience in all of the above strategies and approaches to obtaining a family law resolution. We don’t do things by halves. Because we are part of a big team this means that we have more resources and knowledge available to find better solutions for our clients.