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Advice please, child matter, what is right?

(8 Posts)
Homely1 Wed 11-Nov-15 07:07:01

The issue I have is with regards to child contact. Solicitors involved. Every day I have a new stress. Please could I have you opinion. Where there are 2 established central firms, is a large family dept superior to that with a smaller one? The smaller one has solicitor with many years experience. The one with large dept have a cut throat reputation. How would a judge view both? Thank you.

goddessofsmallthings Wed 11-Nov-15 08:47:23

How would a judge view both?

Judges in the family courts are solely and wholly concerned with adjudicating on the merits of the cases that are put before them.

As the judge in your case will not be remotely concerned with 'viewing' solicitors in the way you've described, you're best advised to instruct the firm you feel most comfortable with or have the most confidence in.

Homely1 Wed 11-Nov-15 09:33:03

Thank you. I've heard some ppl say that judges can be put off by firms which are known to be cut throat. Also whether they would subconsciously regard some firms better than others, particularly if they have a larger dept.

I just did not know if a larger family dept means more expertise or whether the expertise of an individual in a small dept is enough.

I'm not sure how to assess whether an individual will fight my corner or the depth of knowledge to make reasoned arguments that may even be off piste and not common knowledge.

girlywhirly Wed 11-Nov-15 11:21:33

Based solely on my own experience, if you know which family court your case will be dealt with, choose a local firm of solicitors. They usually have presented cases to judges whose methods of dealing with them they know, and can use to their advantage. My solicitor was in this position, EXH's solicitor was from another county and hadn't any knowledge of the judge. Recommended by a colleague, quite posh.

Our dispute was EXH wanted formal residency, even though DC was living with him. My sol consulted with the other sol and they each consulted with their client; EXH did his best to appear magnanimous and reasonable about contact. When we went into the hearing the judge tore him off a strip about discussing it with DC, as his sol had mentioned this when presenting his case; something not mentioned to my sol and and also something guaranteed to anger the judge as my sol knew it would but his wouldn't. Judge declared it was for the parents to decide not the child, then pronounced that as the contact had been agreed between the clients there was no case for a formal residency agreement and therefore would not make one, case dismissed.

Sometimes a sol who is familiar with the ways of local courts and judges have the upper hand.

Homely1 Wed 11-Nov-15 19:54:59

Thank you...

goddessofsmallthings Fri 13-Nov-15 03:02:57

In criminal cases that are dealt with in the magistrates there's something to be said for instructing local solicitors, but it can equally be said that a big gun high end firm may secure a more favourable outcome.

If you were to use a firm local to the family courts in the expectation that they would be more familiar with the judges, it'd be sod's law that the case would be heard by a newcomer to the bench.

Go with whatever firm/lawyer you feel most comfortable with/have the most confidence in, but be aware that it's highly unlikely that any judge will be minded to rule against your dc having overnight stays with his/her df unless you are able to prove that he poses a considerable risk to his/her safety.

Personally, I'd go for an experienced lawyer who will be unlikely to be blindsided by whatever arguments are put forward by the other side as they'll have heard it all before.

Is your case going to court because you've been unable to reach agreement through mediation, or are you still in the process?

DivorceAlchemist Fri 13-Nov-15 19:34:24

Homely1 you will fair better by using a firm of solicitors you feel comfortable with. Cut throat lawyers really aren't all they are cracked up to be in family cases. Seek a firm who are members of Resolution. They work to a code of ethics to promote family life and reduce conflict. Cut throat lawyers make their money often by encouraging conflict because they make more money. Good solicitors will focus on what is best for your children. Are you before a District Judge or Magistrates? It doesn't really matter but cut throat lawyers rarely impress magistrates! District Judges who have practiced themselves are better able to handle them and appreciate their role in a different way but they too can be irritated by lawyers who aren't child focused. Good luck! smile

Homely1 Fri 13-Nov-15 22:00:27

Thank you x

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