Separating? An insider’s tips on what to look out for when hiring a family lawyer

Expert family lawyer Kirsty Salvestro runs us through how to pick the right legal representation for family law. 

We have all heard the horrifying stories of aggressive overcharging lawyers, and let me tell you, it may be that is exactly what you want, but often, it is rather a pathway we are blindly and unintentionally led down.

I recently spoke to a couple, who combined, spent $300,000 in legal fees, only to achieve an outcome that was awfully close to what they had originally spoke of when they first separated. So, what went wrong? How did they end up there?

Well, despite being very good people, they choose to engage aggressive and litigious lawyers rather than seek out a pathway that was more suited to them.

Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter to read more stories like this.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that it is always the lawyers who should be blamed. Wasn’t it the couple that choose to fight? They choose to not give up and keep arguing anyway and paying those fees? It was a choice that they made. They were not forced to do it.

On the other hand, this couple, and many others I have seen, are in a vulnerable position choosing this very pathway, not because they want to fight and waste money on legal fees, but because they think that there is no alternative.

I am sad to say, it is likely they were never advised otherwise. So, to avoid this occurring, we need to educate couples of the alternative methods, empower them to seek out their options and choose the right team for them.

The most important qualities you should be looking at to make the right choice for you are:

1. They give you options

Someone who offers information on processes and options, not just legal advice. The more you know about your options, the greater chance you have of creating better outcomes and saving money.

Most lawyers will want to help you avoid court, but if yours doesn’t want to do that, maybe you should consider seeking information from someone else.

Hint: Look for a professional who focuses on out of court solutions such as mediation and collaborative family law.

2. Are they the right personality for you?

Do you want them to be down to earth and honest? You need to feel comfortable with the person who you are placing such trust in. You need to be able to be honest and open with them and feel that they really have your best interests at heart.

What about how they treat others? If they lose their patience easily, yell at staff, yells in court, or even at you, and call themselves “aggressive”, is that the type of person you want acting for you?

I would suggest you are need someone who is calm and patient. You are going through a difficult time after all, you are emotional and stressed, and you need someone who will guide you and help you manage those emotions.

Hint: Look at their website and social media for testimonials or even ask friends for recommendations for lawyers who fit the right profile for you.

3. Are they a good communicator?

Do you connect and feel comfortable? How is it that you can communicate with them? Can you communicate with them easily, or will it take days for them to get back to you? Will they only talk to you by appointment for email?

You also need to consider works for you. Do you need flexibility due to long working hours or children?

You do not need communication issues to add to your stress levels.

Hint: Most firms offer a ‘free information call” take this opportunity to interview a few lawyers to make sure they are the right fit for you and your circumstances.

4. Someone who focus on value and not hourly rates

Can they do a fixed fee and send you a scope of what that includes. Are they looking for options of resolution such as mediation and collaborative law to achieve an early resolution and help you avoid costs?

Not only will this remove the stress of the dreaded hourly rate from you, it gives you clarity on what services you will receive and what options you have available to you.

Hint: Have a discussion with your lawyer very early on about costs. Often these things are explained in your first appointment or even available on their website.

5. Finally, look for a strategist

You need someone who can give you a clear and focused plan and several options if you hit brick walls. Ask them what options are they suggesting specific to you? Often your outcome can depend on the strategy your lawyers advise you on.

Hint: Ask your lawyer what the options and alternatives are and how they can be achieved.

By checking off these boxes and making sure you choose the right person for you, you truly can have a much kinder and calmer experiences and achieve a positive outcome.

Kirsty Salvestro is a Family Lawyer, Mediator and Divorce Guide and the author of the book What are we fighting for? A Peaceful Pathway for separating couples. Find out more at www.flourishfamilylaw.com.au

Any products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale. Learn more.


Source link

Spread the love