The issues that are handled by a family law lawyer are difficult and complex at the best of times. Most people facing problems like divorce, property settlement and child custody never expect to find themselves in their current circumstances.
This makes this jurisdiction a tricky one for legal professionals and their clients alike. The high stakes involved in this area make it essential for people who are litigating or negotiating to have a reputable family law lawyer on their side.
Failing to secure a good legal representative could result in a loss of property you are entitled to or even the loss of custody of children. Let’s take a look at some of the key traits people should look for when hiring a family law lawyer.
Are they experienced as a family law lawyer?
This question may sound obvious, but it bears mentioning because of how important it is in how a case turns out. This area of law requires experienced solicitors who have dealt with the related issues on numerous occasions in the past.
The most trusted family lawyers in Sydney will have had decades of expertise under their belts. While experience is necessary, it’s also important they remain updated with changing legislation and incorporate it into their expanding skill set.
While no two cases are the same, a good solicitor in this field will recognize similarities and be able to make honest predictions about what’s achievable for their clients. They should be able to support these predictions with precedential cases and their own personal experience in the legal system.
Are they good negotiators?
A talented family law lawyer will primarily be a talented negotiator. While litigation is important in these issues, often the most beneficial outcomes result from ADR (alternative dispute resolution).
This involves both sides of an issue, usually in cases of child custody or property settlement, entering into a negotiation. They can either negotiate themselves with legal counsel or have their solicitors do the talking for them.
No matter what role the solicitor plays in the negotiation, they need to have experience in how to deal with people, leverage expectations and posture their demands. A good solicitor will be able to tell you what you should aim for and what you can afford to settle for.
Be cautious of a solicitor who claims they can achieve everything you want from a negotiation. Most times the settlement will end up as a compromise that is only achievable via adequate legal counsel and representation.
Are they good litigators?
A reliable family law lawyer needs to have experience in litigation if negotiation doesn’t work out. While you might reach an agreement regarding property settlement, issues like child custody may need to go to court for arbitration if an agreement cannot be reached.
When it comes to the courtroom, the solicitor needs to be able to represent their clients’ best interests to the fullest extent of their abilities. They should have a certain rhetorical skill as well as a broad knowledge of legal precedent in order to convince a judge or magistrate of their client’s position.
How do they work?
You don’t want to hire a family law lawyer to work on your case only to find much of the work being done by one of their junior associates. It’s important to find out if the person you are hiring will be dedicating a good portion of their own time to represent and advise you.
The portion of time you should expect from a family law lawyer will depend greatly on the circumstances of your case and the expectations or wishes you have laid out.