Family law lawyers specialise in child arrangements, separation and divorce. They can advise you on appropriate financial arrangements and arrangements for children and represent you at court. Advice can differ dependent on whether you are married or not.
Many family law lawyers are members of Resolution. Resolution is an organisation set up to encourage lawyers to work together to help their clients reach an agreement with the minimum conflict and confrontation. The Resolution Code of Practice can be found here.
A family law lawyer can include:
- Legal Executives
Even if you do not want to use a lawyer, or cannot afford to do so, it can be helpful to obtain some early advice so you understand some of the issues that may need to be resolved and the different options available to you. Many solicitors offer either a free initial meeting or the first meeting at a discounted fee.
Solicitors can handle your case from start to finish, including arranging legal aid and dealing with paperwork, and some may carry out the advocacy (speaking for you in court) themselves. You can find a solicitor (including one who has signed up to the Resolution Code of Practice) using the links to the right-hand side of this page.
Solicitors can provide advice on the law and how the court systems work. They can also provide information on resolving disagreements without going to court. More information can be here.
Legal Executives are qualified lawyers who have followed a different route to qualification, more information can be found here. Legal Executives usually specialise in an area of law, which means the everyday work of a Legal Executive is very similar to that of a solicitor.
Barristers are primarily advocates (representation at court). They are usually instructed by a solicitor to deal with the hearings, and sometimes to advise on how strong your case is or what steps should be taken.
Barristers can sometimes be instructed directly without a solicitor, this is called Direct Public Access. If you instruct a barrister this way, you generally need to be able to deal with all the paperwork and correspondence that a solicitor would normally do. More information can be found here or via your local barristers’ chambers.
Paralegals provide support and assistance but are not qualified lawyers. You can find more information here.
Some lawyers offer initial free half hour appointments. Many law firms and barristers are able to offer fixed or capped fees, and in some instances reduced hourly rates. Some lawyers are happy to be instructed for key stages or steps in your case, rather than the whole way through. You should shop around and ask what fee arrangements each lawyer / firm can offer you to best suit your budget.
If you have been the victim of domestic abuse and are on a low income you may be eligible for legal aid to meet or contribute to your legal costs. To see if you are eligible, click on the legal aid link on the right-hand side of this page. More information on legal aid can be found here.