£50 Initial Meeting
At our initial meeting, we take as long as is necessary to gain an understanding of your circumstances. We ask you about your finances, your family dynamic and your hopes, fears and goals. We seek to match that understanding with our knowledge of the differing potential routes to reach a settlement of your family matters, incorporating our Divorce Adviser service. We strongly believe that separating couples should inform themselves of all routes to the resolution of their issues before settling on one course of action.
Unfortunately, the legal system is not set up to make it easy for family lawyers to always point you in the right direction for your circumstances. Once you have instructed a solicitor, it is incumbent on them to try to find you the best deal. The problem with that situation is that no two parties can both, separately, achieve their best deal so the process can become more adversarial, and often more costly, as a result. Furthermore, law firms are run to billing targets. Once you and your partner both instruct legal advisers, there is little or no incentive in the current system to make it practical for a solicitor to reduce their own earnings from your case by recommending a different, cheaper and more conciliatory route to settlement, such as mediation or arbitration. Some law firms do point clients towards 'dispute resolution' whenever they can, but the majority of family lawyers' work still stems from adversarial representation. There are many situations where this is absolutely the best route to settlement. However, we believe that a careful assessment of your circumstances and budget at the outset, with a clear understanding of all the routes to settlement that are available to you, will help you make that decision more informatively.
Family law is not 'black letter' law, that is to say that Acts of Parliament and case law form only a small part of how a settlement is negotiated in finance and children law. We provide you with an understanding of the law and how it applies to differing family circumstances.
Many situations can be very straightforward but if yours are more complicated for any reason, we investigate with you whether it would be better for you to put your money towards pension advisers or accountants for business valuations in financial cases or independent social workers in children matters at court, or therapists. These specialist advisers can add significant value to the arrangements you are finally able to reach but they still form part of the costs of divorce and are best understood at the outset, before you commit to other expenses.
Most people know that you can instruct solicitors or apply to court but not everyone is aware of the many other forms of dispute resolution (ADR) that the Government is now promoting. Dispute resolution, when appropriate, provides a more conciliatory, less costly approach to resolving matters which firmly keeps the responsibility for decision making in your own hands and we actively promote this option for you to consider before you commit to any particular path to settlement.
We seek to help you define the best process for your family matters, rather than discovering what might have been a better idea, too late in the process.