A Day in the Life of a Family Solicitor
07 July 2016
My day starts much the same as most working parents – with the chaos of getting my 3 children dressed and ready for the school run. I like to arrive at my desk early so that I can go through emails and prepare for the day ahead – “preparation is 90% of the game” a District Judge once told me!
At Co-op Legal Services our Family Law team deals with many telephone enquiries and the calls tend to start early. Sometimes it is a matter of giving some initial legal advice over the phone. Sometimes a more detailed, tailored approach is required. We offer fixed fees and once a written quote has been provided for the agreed work, that price will not change.
There is rarely a quiet moment in my working day. In between dealing with telephone enquiries and conducting client meetings over the phone (our clients are nationwide) you will find me drafting documents and sending letters and emails to my clients, other parties or to the Court.
I deal with a lot of divorce cases and related matters concerning children and divorce financial arrangements. I also advise a lot of clients in respect of Pre-nuptial and Post-nuptial Agreements, also known as living-together agreements. Prenups have become very popular as, although they are not legally binding, the Courts are increasingly upholding these agreements in Court when relied upon by a party in a dispute. It is important that they are properly drafted, signed in good time (at least 21 days before a marriage in the case of Pre-nuptial Agreements), and both parties should take separate legal advice.
Sometimes I will advise clients on cohabitation disputes (where the parties have not been married and so do not have the same legal rights over shared property as a married couple). I am frequently consulted in matters concerning disputes over children. On occasion these matters require urgent applications to Court and so need to be treated as a priority.
I was recently instructed by a mother who was visiting the UK with her children and the children’s father. The mother was a foreign national and the father had a home in the UK. The father took the children’s passports and refused to allow the mother to return with the children to their home country, claiming to the Judge that they were all living in the UK with him. I advised the mother and we made an emergency application for a Court Order for the father to return the passports to her so that she could travel home with the children. The application was successful and within a week of the father taking the passports, the mother had been to Court, obtained a Court Order and was able to fly home. There are often international elements to the family and children law work that I do, which is inevitable given that our lives are lived on a much more global scale these days.
My day in the family law team at Co-op Legal Services can be pretty varied, often rewarding and never dull! At the end of the working day it is a lovely contrast to return home to my own young family and listen to what they have been up to. Then its dinner, a book and bed before it all starts again.