DMH Stallard’s Family law experts, Natasha Slabas and Samantha Jago, talk to John Young about how we can help you if you are struggling with a legal issue and looking for a lawyer.
What does a good Family solicitor do?
It’s about guiding people into the next difficult time in their lives and helping them roadmap the next step in their path ahead, giving them ideas, pointers and different things to think about so they don't feel so lost and trapped. Making an emotional connection with the client is rewarding. You have to be a people-person to be a Family lawyer; people are going through the toughest time in their life, and you need to reign in exactly what should be done and try and make sure that the client feels happy and confident that you can get them to the next stage.
What services does the DMH Stallard Family law team provide?
We cover a very wide range. We can be dealing with a relatively straightforward divorce with very few assets, to something where you might have international property. You might have somebody who owns their own business, or you might have somebody who's just trying to secure contact with their child. So, we cover a whole range of different situations and across different jurisdictions.
How can clients best help themselves when they find themselves needing a Family solicitor and there are a lot of emotions running hot?
It's very tricky for clients because they're going through the worst experience of their life and they're having to meet somebody who's a stranger. A lot of our clients have never dealt with lawyers before and have to trust them with the most intimate aspects of their life, both personally and financially. As a consequence, some clients can become very attached to their lawyer and start ringing them very frequently over anything that happens or emailing them seven, eight, 20 times a day. Of course, we never discourage somebody from getting in touch with us, but that's how fees can start to escalate very quickly. We are very upfront and honest with our clients about how we charge and give them a warning at the outset to be aware that there can be a charge if you get in touch. As a consequence of that, to keep your fees under control, be mindful about when you really need to get in touch with us.
What is an example of a case that has been successful?
A lady, who had two children, wanted to move back to her home country and she managed to get the order in the end. It was a tight race, the stakes were high, and, usually, the left behind parent is very worried. We managed to secure a very good order; my client wasn't going to see the other parent off into the distance and wanted to make sure that he maintained a relationship with his kids. That was a rewarding case.
People have this great fear that you're going to drop them down to Court and things are going to escalate. Part of our job is negotiation; negotiating complex and emotive matters, such as children, or looking at complex business structures and understanding how they work and making sure they're dealt with properly. We have to work as a team, and we chat to each other about our cases.
Once someone has the courage to reach out and ask for legal help, what are the next steps that they should take?
First of all, it's about choosing the right lawyer for you. I always give the example of going to see a GP and being allocated someone automatically who might not be the right fit for you personally. Then, you see another GP and feel more comfortable.
Try to find a lawyer that you feel you've got a natural rapport with. We are very lucky here at DMH Stallard because we have several Family lawyers. You'll see quite a few different people from different backgrounds and different ranges of experience on our website, so you'll be able to find the best fit for you and reach out to us.
We've got a great onboarding team who will funnel out the mandatory information, do the conflict checks, and they'll usually position people depending on our skill set. We've got juniors who are from zero PQE and have just qualified, we've got trainees, all the way up to senior partner level so there’s a bit of matchmaking going on to find the right lawyer for the right challenge. There's always somebody there to look after your matters and manage the case if the lead lawyer is away and they will be fully briefed about all the details.
If you've got a family law matter that you've really been worrying about, please do not hesitate to reach out and contact
a member of the Family law team.