What are you expecting when you go to a lawyer for Family Law advice? For them to read out the law to you? For them to tell you about the process? The cost? Stories about other clients?
Or, if you are like most people, you have never been through a separation or divorce before, and you may never have even dealt with a lawyer before.
It is difficult to know what you should expect if you have never experienced it.
In this day and age, we are all capable of looking up the law. Google it – “Family Court property settlement”, “divorce in Australia”, “parenting arrangements in Australia”.
From my experience, almost every client that we see here at Leach Legal has already given Google a good working over. Judge Google – the font of all knowledge.
So why does the right advice have no price? The reason is because you can read everything you can find, but without an experienced Family Lawyer to take your particular situation (and no case is EVER exactly the same), apply the Law to it and explain it to you, give you the options for the different processes and, most importantly, give you a strategy for your case, based on the law, the process and their experience.
Nothing is guaranteed in Family Law, but your lawyer should be working with you like a good chess player; they should be several moves ahead and when the opponent’s move is not as expected, there is another move to counter it.
So, my top tips for getting the right advice:
1. Contact a Family Law Firm that has lawyers that are only focused on Family Law. It breeds a culture of learning and sharing, collaboration and shared knowledge that you will benefit from (usually at no cost to you).
2. Make an appointment as soon as possible after you separate so you can understand the law and the process as it applies to your case. It does not mean you are going to be “forced” to go to Court – choose a lawyer who will let you have a “one off” appointment so you can process the information without feeling pressured to sign up.
3. Be prepared for your appointment – see my blog “8 Questions for your First Meeting (and some extra info)”.
4. If you don’t receive one, ask your lawyer for their strategy for your case. If they can’t give you one, ask them why.
5. Pay for the advice. You don’t have to go to the most expensive lawyer in town, but in my experience (with everything) you get what you pay for.