Choosing highly qualified family lawyers is one of the determinants of your case’s success. That’s why it’s common for people to change lawyers in the middle of their cases. But who wants to waste time and resources on that? You want to make a strong case from the very beginning. Whether you are going through a custody battle or divorce, having a reliable and proficient family lawyer from start to finish gives you the upper hand in the legal battle and ensures your and your children’s best interests are looked after.
Who Is a Family Lawyer?
Family lawyers provide professional and legal advice, assistance, and support on a wide range of issues involving families. This includes divorce, separation, child support, adoption, and property and financial settlements. They also advise on alternative dispute resolution options; considerations before entering a relationship or before separating; and financial agreements, such as prenuptial, superannuation splitting, and spousal maintenance.
Qualifications of a Family Lawyer
To become a qualified family lawyer, one must complete a series of studies and practices. This can include:
- Bachelor of Law undergraduate degree (LLB) or a Juris Doctor postgraduate degree (JD)
- Practical Legal Training Course (PLT)
- Admission from the Admissions Authority’s relevant state or territories
- Practicing Certificate from the local Law Society
- 18 to 24 months of supervised practice in a law firm (practicing under a family law firm is not compulsory, but having family law as your chosen field is preferable)
- They can also have further studies with a Master of Law (LLM), specializing in family law (This is not compulsory for practicing as a family lawyer though).
What Makes a Great Family Lawyer?
Proof of Knowledge and Expertise
A trained and experienced family lawyer should have in-depth knowledge about the complexities of legal issues, legal jargon, potential loopholes, and the often strict time limits involved in family law cases. You may be able to catch on to the basics of family law quickly, but it will not be as relevant as the wealth of experience a lawyer can offer.
Moreover, family law cases are often painful, stressful, and time-consuming. It would be hard to remain calm and rational to represent yourself as best as possible. Your emotions over deeply personal issues could cloud your better judgment or cause you to succumb to pressure. A family lawyer can provide clinical professionalism to efficiently carry your case, while also offering an excellent support system during this trying period.
Plus, you’ll have a higher chance of winning, knowing that your family lawyer has a past success streak. Family Lawyers Pakenham will typically brief you with the details of their previous cases, especially if it leads you to choose their services. So, don’t hesitate to ask for their track record before making any decisions. You could also ask them about their qualifications, such as whether they’ve got more than a simple law degree. For example, those who have earned a Master of Law (LLM) specializing in family law will clearly give you a better advantage.
It will also help to look for a lawyer who specializes in your type of case. This is because family law is such a broad subject; hence one specialization requires a high degree of knowledge and expertise. Moreover, family law is constantly evolving, which means that the best lawyers will be the ones who specialize in your area.
Specialized lawyers might seem more expensive, but they will be far more efficient and better at their job. They may also charge you less overall, as they don’t have to spend as much time on your case.
Alternative Dispute Resolution & Counselling
Due to the sensitivity of family law cases, most parents going through divorce are hesitant to drag their kids through an emotionally triggering court case. As a result, many of them avoid this situation entirely by seeking alternative dispute resolutions. Fortunately, many family lawyers also have training and experience as counselors. They are well-equipped and ready to mediate, support, and negotiate family disputes. Alternatively, they may be able to refer you to appropriate resources.
Alternative dispute resolution is, for many people, the ideal way to go through separation or divorce. It’s a peaceful way of closing a chapter and moving forward. Thus, both parties will benefit from greater efficiency, mutual satisfaction, decreased antagonism, increased mental health, and a better opportunity for closure. This is a crucial consideration when children are involved, as parents will be required to maintain a collaborative relationship to determine the best childcare arrangement.
Before You Choose a Family Lawyer
Apart from the qualifications that determine a family lawyer’s capability to win your case, let’s look at other factors that make a suitable family lawyer. Here are some of the steps to find the best family lawyer that fits your needs.
Identify the Need for a Divorce or Family Lawyer
Do you need a lawyer, or can both parties reach an amicable agreement? Before jumping to any decision, take an initial consultation with an experienced lawyer to ensure you’re fully informed of all your legal rights. You could also get some advice on the best way to proceed with your case.
Ask for a Referral
Many in your social circle are likely to have worked with family lawyers and are often a good referral source. Ask for a family lawyer with a good reputation who has the qualifications and experience best for your case. Check with your friends or family members who have required a family lawyer and ask about their experience. Do they have any pieces of advice, or can they recommend a lawyer or firm to you?
Identify Your Budget
Lawyers typically bill their services based on an hourly rate. Very few accept a fixed fee based on an estimated amount of time and labor your case will require, as it is difficult to predict how any case will play out and how much time will need to finalize a case. Therefore, your finances need to be in order to ensure you can use your desired lawyer’s services.
Divorce and other family law proceedings are legal processes that can involve the division of your assets and child-related matters. A family lawyer’s job is to represent you to the best of their ability during the legal process. While listening to you is part of the job requirement, being your emotional landfill is not. They can offer support, but they do not have to comfort you. So be realistic about your lawyer’s role and what you can expect from them. Ensure you have a support system outside of your lawyers, such as friends and family, to help you through this time.
Beware of Red Flags
Unfortunately, some lawyers will only tell you the best outcome, but not the worst. They may only tell you what you want to hear, so they can win your trust. While this can make you feel better in the short term, you may be in for a shock later. So, make sure your lawyer briefs you on all the possible outcomes, both good and bad. Make sure they also treat you with the respect and attention you deserve.
Your lawyer should also be a personal choice. Since you’ll be disclosing very personal matters, you must be able to trust and feel comfortable with them. That’s why first impressions matter. If you feel uncomfortable with a lawyer from the get-go, it will be hard to open up with them. This is why talking to any friends and family about their experiences with lawyers can be helpful, as it can position you to find someone you can more readily connect with.
It will be highly advantageous to live close to your lawyer’s firm, so you can quickly meet regularly to work on your case. Although, it’s also worth noting that if your lawyer’s office is located significantly far from the Family Court, you may also have to foot the bill for your lawyer’s commuting time. Additionally, you may be able to use software to digitally meet with your lawyer as needed.
Make the Right Choice With Duffy & Simon
Choosing someone to represent you in a family law case is a crucial process. The lawyer-client relationship entails constant work and communication during a significant and emotional period of your life. Your relationship with your family lawyer may have to last for months and, in some cases, even years. So, you must ensure to find the right person to trust your case with.
Duffy & Simon lawyers deliver clear and easy-to-understand advice, so you can go through your case with confidence. Trust that we will maintain regular communication throughout the entire process, so you’re constantly updated, and we are aligned with our goals. We will make sure you’re aware of all your rights, and each case is handled with the utmost sensitivity, professionalism, and respect.
Duffy & Simon is a team of professionals that have assisted a wide variety of family law cases to achieve the best possible outcomes. We can help you with any legal help you need, whether it’s representation in court or assistance in drafting formal documentation. Rest assured, we have the proficiency and experience with negotiation, mediation, and litigation to help you with your case.
Call a Qualified Family Lawyer in Pakenham Now!
Do you need any family law assistance? Or are you considering a divorce or separation? Contact us now to book a consultation! Protect your rights and work towards a favorable outcome; get one of our family law lawyers to represent you today.