Do you offer a free interview?
No, I do not offer a free first interview but I do offer a fixed fee interview for £50 + VAT (£60 in total). For this fixed fee you will have an appointment with me for one hour when you will be able to set out your situation in a clear and unhurried way. I will give you thorough and extensive advice based on significant experience in family law issues and I will also be able to give you an idea of the likely outcome of your case and chances of success as well as how much your legal fees would be should you choose to proceed with your case. I will also advise you of any issues that may hamper your case. Following our meeting you will receive a letter from me confirming my advice to you and advising you what steps you can take next; this, too, is included in the fixed fee price.
Be aware that many offers of free advice are for very short periods of time which give you little chance to discuss matters in any depth and are often with newly qualified or trainee solicitors who have little experience of family law issues.
If you would like to make an appointment to come and see me, please call my secretary, Julie, on 01274 589900. Fixed fee appointments are available Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
Do I need to bring anything with me when I come to see you for the first time?
You need to bring with you two pieces of identification, one of which confirms your current address. A current passport or photographic driving licence would be ideal together with a recent utility bill confirming your address. In terms of any other documentation, please feel free to bring with you any paperwork you feel is relevant to your case. If you have been served with court papers or your have received a letter from another solicitors please bring these documents with you. You are also welcome to bring a pen and notepad should you wish to make some notes.
We have decided to divorce and everything is agreed. Can you represent both of us?
No, I cannot represent both of you. Due to the Solicitors Code of Practice Rules regarding potential conflicts of interests between parties solicitors are not allowed to represent both parties in a relationship breakdown situation.
We want to resolve matters amicably. Will solicitors create arguments?
When a relationship breaks down there may be difficult issues that need to be resolved between the parties. This does not mean, however, that matters cannot be dealt with sensitively and constructively. I am an Accredited Specialist of Resolution (formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association) which means that I am committed to resolving matters fairly and constructively and will not act in such a way as to inflame matters between you and your spouse or partner, thus making matters worse.
Resolution is a national organisation of family solicitors that promotes the need for a sensible and sensitive approach when dealing with family law matters. Any client seeking family law advice should look to see whether their solicitor is a member of Resolution.
I am worried about legal fees. How much will my case cost?
I cannot provide you with an exact figure as to how much your case will cost. I can however give you an estimate based on considerable experience. I will also highlight to you possible hidden costs. Much depends on the issues involved, the complexity of your case and the approach adopted by the other person in the case. If your spouse or partner is going to be unreasonable, aggressive or unwilling to co-operate then your costs are likely to be more than if the two of you were amicable. I will, however, provide you with an estimate of your likely fees at the outset of your case and will notify you if I have to revise that estimate. All my clients receive a breakdown of their charges with each account and I undertake a six month review of each case free of charge to ensure that progress of the case and your fees are being monitored and you are being fully informed.
I understand that legal fees are expensive. What is important is that costs are proportionate to the issues involved and that you are aware at all times about your costs and you feel that you have control over them.
I am nervous about coming to see you. Can I bring a friend?
Yes. I fully understand that coming to see a solicitor can be a nerve racking and daunting experience and whilst I aim to provide legal advice in an approachable and friendly manner I realise that it can be an upsetting experience for you to have to talk about something as personal as the breakdown of your relationship. You are therefore very welcome to bring a friend or relative along whether for moral support or simply to provide you with a second pair of ears!