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Does Having a Good Lawyer Help?

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 27 Jan 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Lawyer Divorce Legal Family Law

You might read about large divorce settlements in the newspapers. In all likelihood, the people who are benefiting have employed high-powered and very expensive lawyers, who specialise in divorce work and know how to make the best of all the facts available.

Most of us, however, don’t have the deep pockets to afford that kind of legal representation in divorce or Family Court. But even for us ordinary mortals, can a good lawyer make a real difference?

What Makes A Good Divorce Lawyer?

There are a number of things that make a good divorce lawyer, but perhaps the most vital is someone with whom you feel comfortable, and that you feel will do the best job for you – someone you trust to work on your behalf.

That said, there are qualities you should want in a lawyer. He (or she, of course) should specialise in family law, and have extensive court experience. That means they’ll be familiar with anything they’re likely to encounter in your case, and able to act more effectively on your behalf.

Someone who’s a good fighter is a plus, especially in difficult cases, but not abrasive – he also has to be able to charm the court. A balance of the tenacious and polite is ideal. That last thing you want is someone who loses his temper easily; that’s just going to antagonise people.

It’s worth getting recommendations from friends who’ve been through a divorce, and there are also the Yellow Pages as a way to find a lawyer. Ultimately, however, until you sit down with the person and have a feel for them, you’re not going to know whether they will work well for you.

The First Interview

One thing about a good lawyer is that they cost quite a bit of money, so you’d better be prepared to pay. But remember that the first time you meet, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. You should emerge with a good picture of what the lawyer believes he can do for you in your case, and how much it’s likely to cost – although this can only obviously be a rounded figure, since there are many variables.

What Should A Good Lawyer Do?

A good lawyer will know all the angles and be willing to pursue all the facts in order to win your case. He should be a skilled investigator, but also an excellent negotiator – that can actually help proceedings move more quickly, if he’s able to reach a favourable agreement with your ex’s lawyer before you have to go to court (and that will also save you money).

Ultimately, of course, the lawyer should be able to achieve the result you want, whatever that might be. That’s his goal, and he earns his fee by achieving it, or getting as close as possible. He has to be better than the other lawyer, because, if it comes to court, it’s essentially a contest, especially in acrimonious cases. There are other factors involved, which include the Cafcass Report and the wishes of the children, but essentially, you’re paying for the experience and skill the person can bring to your problem.

He needs to focus on the areas that are most important to you, whether those relate to access or financial terms, and not be distracted by other issues. You want a good overall settlement, but you have to say what’s vital to you, to give good instructions. A good lawyer really can make the difference.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Anyone had experience or can advise on eu issue? Am divorced with 4 kids. I in UK they in Italy with mom. Need help with getting things better as kids not entirely happy with her situayion there.
The Herb - 27-Jan-17 @ 7:10 PM
I have a year & half old son to my ex girlfriend, but she won't let me see him, I haven't met him yet & she had a 2 year restraining order put on me, additionally I am not on the birth certificate & she has recently mailed me, asking if i would be willing to meet him before restraining order is over, but before I meet him she wants Maintainance payments. to be honest sounds like shes just out for the cash. any opinions people?
Umar - 29-Dec-16 @ 12:27 AM
My ex wife is holding my contact to our son to ransom and I have been paying child support but recently became un employed and awaiting to start a new job on the 4th January and the this morning I received a text message to say she is now clotting all contact and I have been to court twice and have a court order in place which gives me access to our son and I at my wits end and I have getting fed up with my exs attiude towards everything and need to know what my next steps are
Irishbhoy69 - 26-Dec-16 @ 12:54 PM
I have 3 boys to my ex .I have not seen for 6 years and my ex keeps saying she's not ready to let me see the kids. M am on benefits m.can I get legal aid.??and were or what do go Iraqi contact ..0lz help. ...best regards m.
Moss - 23-Oct-15 @ 6:25 AM
evo - Your Question:
Hi,i have 4 children from my first marriage ,my eldest is 22 and has been back in contact since she was 16 and now lives by us,my 2 middle children are 19 and 17 and neither of these are in contact,but the youngest is 12,my ex was pregnant with her when she had her affair and left,she has no idea who I am or that I exist because thats the way her mom wanted it.i spent lots of money fighting in court to see my kids and cosequently lost and even ended up having a court order placed against me preventing me from seeing my kids indefinately.I have paid maintenance for all my children,even the 12 year old,even though I feel this is unfair.I am considering asking my ex and her husband (who incidently is the man that my daughter thinks is her dad) if he is willing to adopt her legally as his own.She is only my daughter by conception.there is no bond and if she were to find out at 12 years old that dad is not really her dad,it would screw her little head up big time.My ex has made no effort in 12 years to tell her the truth. I now have my own family now ,including my eldest daughter and her children(my grandchildren).My life is complete now and sadly it will never include these children again,and that is through no fault of mine,also because of the no contact order placed against me,does this mean that I have no parental responsability,and if that isthe case,why do I still pay csa??

Our Response:
If another person is recognised as the ‘legal’ mother or father of the child this means that the biological or former mother or father of the child does not have legal responsibility for the child any more i.e; after an adoption order is made. The biological parents must consent to the adoption of their child. As it is an unusual request, I can only suggest you take legal advice. It is rare the court rules to let a parent give up PR. However, in your case if the child has been told another man his her father, and will remain unaware, and you have previously fought for contact and lost, then you may have an unusual case to answer.
SeparatedDads - 21-Oct-15 @ 10:40 AM
hi,i have 4 children from my first marriage ,my eldest is 22 and has been back in contact since she was 16 and now lives by us,my 2 middle children are 19 and 17 and neither of these are in contact,but the youngest is 12,my ex was pregnant with her when she had her affair and left,she has no idea who i am or that i exist because thats the way her mom wanted it.i spent lots of money fighting in court to see my kids and cosequently lost and even ended up having a court order placed against me preventing me from seeing my kids indefinately.I have paid maintenance for all my children,even the 12 year old,even though i feel this is unfair.I am considering asking my ex and her husband (who incidently is the man that my daughter thinks is her dad) if he is willing to adopt her legally as his own.She is only my daughter by conception .there is no bond and if she were to find out at 12 years old that dad is not really her dad,it would screw her little head up big time.My ex has made no effort in 12 years to tell her the truth. I now have my own family now ,including my eldest daughter and her children(my grandchildren).My life is complete now and sadly it will never include these children again,and that is through no fault of mine,also because of the no contact order placed against me,does this mean that i have no parental responsability,and if that isthe case,why do i still pay csa??
evo - 20-Oct-15 @ 8:59 AM
Sammie Poole - Your Question:
I met a my ex who lives in st Lucia we was engaged at the time of finding out I was expecting our twins who are 2 and half. He never lived in england and on his final visit to us I realised I couldn't be with him anymore and ended our relationship. A year and a half late he now is comig over 12th September this year. Im worried that he may take them and with him being onthe birth certificate. If this was to happen I fear there's nothing I can do. So im asking is there anything I can do to stop this from happeing.

Our Response:
You could take it to court an apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. There is no easy way to deal with this question – the chances are if they have taken them to a country that has not entered into an agreement with the UK, it may be hard to have your child returned to you. At present there are 45 countries that have entered into an agreement with the UK to help with the recovery of a child in these circumstances. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 13-Aug-15 @ 11:11 AM
I met a my ex who lives in st Lucia we was engaged at the time of findingouti was expecting our twins who are 2 and half. He never lived in england and on his final visit to us i realised i couldn'tbe with him anymore and ended our relationship.A year and a halflate he now is comig over 12th September this year.Im worried that he may take them and with him beingonthe birth certificate. If this was to happen i fear there'snothing i can do. So im askingis thereanythingi can do to stop this from happeing.
Sammie Poole - 10-Aug-15 @ 10:02 PM
Im a dad in england. i have a daughter that was born in scotland. im on the birth certificate. my child was born before the law changed which ststes i have no parental responsibilities. after she was born i moved them down to london we split 2.5 years after. she remained in london up until recently (9 years in london in total) she moved back to scotland and took her out of the school she was in and is currently trying to enrole her in a scotland school without my knowledge. i have a room where she stays with me on the weekend located 20 minutes from her school. i offered that she could stay with me until she sorts out her issues she refused. i also offered a house she could stay with her partner and other children with cheap rent which was the initial issue. this was over the half term she was due to come back to return to school but i found out that she intended to stay in scotland which is miles away. i have a good job and a stable home. she has not worked in the 9 years ive known her. does the c100 form for parental responsibility apply in this case?
english dad scottish - 4-Jun-15 @ 10:00 AM
Im a dad in england. i have a daughter that was born in scotland. im on the birth certificate. my child was born before the law changed which ststes i have no parental responsibilities. after she was born i moved them down to london we split 2.5 years after. she remained in london up until recently (9 years in london in total) she moved back to scotland and took her out of the school she was in and is currently trying to enrole her in a scotland school without my knowledge. i have a room where she stays with me on the weekend located 20 minutes from her school. i offered that she could stay with me until she sorts out her issues she refused. i also offered a house she could stay with her partner and other children with cheap rent which was the initial issue. this was over the half term she was due to come back to return to school but i found out that she intended to stay in scotland which is miles away. i have a good job and a stable home. she has not worked in the 9 years ive known her. does the c100 form for parental responsibility apply in this case?
english dad scottish - 4-Jun-15 @ 9:32 AM
@kamz - on one hand you are saying that you have kept your son when you were supposed to return him and on another you are saying this is something you wouldn't do, so this is a little confusing. Putting your reasons aside for a moment for keeping your son against his mother's wishes, you have to understand that mothers or fathers can get very nervous when the other parent refuses to return their children, and naturally, as a result it can make them very over protective and reluctant to risk being faced again with the immense worry and stress this situation can bring about. The other parent at the time has no idea that it's something you 'wouldn't do' seriously. The courts don't like it either if one parent decides to take the law into their own hands by doing this. If you have concerns for the welfare of your son you need to go through the proper process and either take it through mediation where Cafcass will get involved, Social Services, or take it through the courts. I'm afraid I can't give any advice here as it will depend upon the court hearing. You could try and apply for an interim court order before the case comes to court. However, for future reference you should not refuse to hand your son back without prior negotiation with your ex as it will lead to an immense lack of distrust and to the type of court-based situation you are finding yourself in now. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 1-May-15 @ 11:16 AM
Ever since I moved out from my ex partners house I have been seeing my son eveyvday and had come to an agreement after a lot of argumens that my son stays with me 3 nights a week and I see him for an hour or 2 every other day. Few times I have stopped my son going back to his mums for his own safety and now she's gone to court to get child arrangement order and prohibited steps order. She saying she's agreed with my demands cause she's scared I might not retun my son to he . She's knows dam well I wouldn't do that that to my son. I need to talk to some who's been through this please contact me I'm in desperate need as I can't afford to lose what I have. She wants me to walk out on my son I have proof of that.
kamz - 1-May-15 @ 12:05 AM
Interesting article. I suppose if justice is justice then it shouldnt really matter how good your lawyer is. But in reality it probably does. I'm finding it hard to choose a solicitor, really dont have the time to contact tens of them but dont wanna be stuck with a lazy one. I've seen a couple of comparison style services that are free and worth a shot. Whether they are any good is another thing but no harm done. 'Compare the law' was the most legit looking. Main thing for me is I dont want one that basically leaves my file in a pile until someone else or the courts force their hand. I guess I want some proactivity above anything else. Good luck to everyone going through issues
Nigel119 - 30-Apr-15 @ 12:49 PM
@Nasir - as it has been such a long time since you've seen your child you need to start at the beginning to begin to apply for contact. Have you looked at our website on When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access. It gives a lot of helpful advice to help put the wheels in motion. You can find a link here .
SeparatedDads - 22-Oct-14 @ 3:00 PM
@Barry - If you have to ask the court for permission to apply for an order then you will have to pay the fee which is not refundable. There may be other costs you will have to pay but that depends on your case and what you decide to do. However, there are exemptions and you may not have to pay if you are in receipt of a specified means-tested benefit; or your gross annual income does not exceed a specified limit or if you would suffer undue financial hardship if you had to pay a court fee. You can obtain the booklet booklet and form EX160A - Court fees - Do I have to pay them? It is available from any county court office, family proceedings centre or it can be downloaded from the internet at www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 22-Oct-14 @ 11:08 AM
I have a baby and I have problam with my wife and now she dnt allowed me to see my son.i try everything to solve this problem but she didn't agree.i want to know what should i do?because its been one year.and i didn't even saw my son.can you plz advice me?thanks
nasir - 22-Oct-14 @ 10:34 AM
My ex partner wants me to go via a solicitor inorder to have any contact with our son (we both have Provided for him) I know I will have to pay for this and it will likely to go to court again I know I will have to pay for this but my Q is would my ex also have to pay out for a solicitor if she wants to stop my gaining contact with our son?
Barry - 21-Oct-14 @ 8:48 PM
Can anyone recommend a cost effective lawyer who is tenacious in pursuing their client's cause? Many thanks
Frustrated - 3-Jul-14 @ 9:28 PM
I have problem with one of justices in Ontario due to her reputation in public and legal community in her behaviour in court.
thompson - 6-Jun-14 @ 7:28 AM
I have custody of my son as my ex has mental health issues. cafcas & the judge have decided to let her have unsupervised visits they also want me to drop him off at her set destination. Do I have to take him?
bigpaulrepo - 22-Apr-14 @ 11:28 PM
Belief and trust are the most important things for a good lawyer.
Luke Logan - 18-Dec-13 @ 4:18 AM
Hi Can you help me my ex partner since 14th June 2013 has taken my children and up until the 7th July I had daily access and both my childrenwho also stayed over night with me, then on the 8th of July she daid I couldn't see my children on the 9th of July I phoned her and she said my son had stayed with her sister I went to her sisters house and she refused to give me my son, I argued with my ex partner later in the day and told her I was coming to get my son, my son saw me coming and was at the window crying but his mum had locked all doors and wouldn't let him out to see me I lost it and kicked her door and the middle panel fell out she phoned the police and I was arrested, I have a lawyer and he has asked for 50/50 access my ex partner has refused this and has said that I can only get 2 days visits and only through lawyers at her say so What can I do( I regret what I did but I got annoyed because she had refused me my children for no reason) prior to this she had said I was seeing the children to often but I always saw them every day. What can I do (she now also wants me to sell the house and give her what we make on it but she has never paid the mortgage and the payment comes from my account although we jointly ownthe house jointly
Jim - 19-Jul-13 @ 6:37 PM
what can I do if my wife is stopping me from seeing my son
markyclimberboy - 4-Jul-13 @ 7:10 AM
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