What is a Family Law Solicitor and How to Choose One?

You may have heard and attorney being called a family law solicitor. What exactly is a solicitor? Exactly the same thing as a family law attorney and their titles are interchangeable.

A family law attorney litigates cases that pertain to family issues such as divorce, custody, adoption, guardianship, immigration and proving paternity. Each case is unique, so it is important to find the right lawyer for your case. A family law attorney or solicitor, typically spends his or her time meeting with clients, reviewing files, preparing documents, filing documents in court, interviewing witnesses, negotiating with opposing parties, and trying cases in court. Much of the work in a family law case comes before it ever gets to the courtroom.

If you are considering hiring a family law attorney, there are several factors to consider. The first one is what kind of experience you are seeking. Some attorneys handle mostly adoptions, and others do mostly divorces or specialize in mediation or immigration. You may be able to find out information online about a particular lawyer’s experience, or you may be able to ask his or her receptionist about the lawyer’s education and background. Some attorneys do general family practice and handle all types of cases.

If you have no idea where to even start looking for an attorney, you may wish to contact the local court clerk and see if he or she can provide you with a list of attorneys and their contact information. Most family law attorneys are listed in the phone book, but more and more lawyers are choosing to advertise mostly online. You may wish to ask friends, coworkers or family members if they have ever used an attorney for a family law matter and who they would recommend. If you have used a lawyer for another type of case, he or she may be able to provide a name and number of someone who can help you.

You may also wonder if you need a lawyer at all. More and more litigants are choosing to represent themselves. When a person is representing themselves in court, that person is what is called a “pro se” litigant. It can be difficult to represent yourself in court, especially if you have never done so before and have little experience drafting legal pleadings or presenting evidence in a court of law. Generally, it is a good idea to speak to an attorney, especially if your case is contested by another person or parent who has an attorney. A family law attorney can help guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have about your case.

It is usually a good idea to choose a lawyer local to your area, as he or she will have familiarity with how the court system works there. Different judges have different preferences in how they run the courtroom, so choosing a lawyer who knows what the judges are looking for can help you when it comes time to litigate your case.

You also want to make sure that the lawyer is the right one and has time for your case. Here are a few items to ask yourself and your potential attorney:

    • Does he or she answer phone calls promptly?
    • Do you feel like your case is important to the lawyer?
    • Are you comfortable with their response and feedback?
    • Do they specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of their practice?
    • Ask them what their strategy is for your case?
    • Will anyone else in your office be working on my case? What experience do they have?
    • What’s your estimate of the total cost of this divorce?

Hiring a lawyer can become very expensive, so you will want to make sure that you feel your money is well spent. Most lawyers will be very happy to answer any questions you might have, as they understand that family law cases can get complicated and clients want to participate in the process.