Earlier this week the BBC ran an article on figures from the Legal Ombudsman which revealed that legal advice on divorce prompts the most legal complaints.
According to the Ombudsman some 18% of the complaints resolved relate to marital break-ups. As a Partner in the Family department here at Linder Myers I obviously find the statistics a cause for concern.
The reality is that divorce is an emotionally stressful time for clients, akin to the death of a family member (something that is even more apparent where children are involved), and it is our role as legal experts to relieve the stress as much as possible during this difficult time – not add to it.
The chief legal ombudsman Adam Sampson has urged people to agree costs up front and check the fine print to avoid such complaints and this is something I agree with wholeheartedly. At Linder Myers costs are always explained to the client at the outset, and regular updates sent thereafter, however I would urge clients to go one step further.
Family solicitors are just that, experts in Family law; they aren’t trained as IFAs or marriage counsellors. At Linder Myers our holistic approach means that we are able to refer clients to such specialist family counsellors and other such specialist advisors when necessary. It’s important for clients not only to understand any agreements they are entering into, but also to appoint a solicitor that has the expertise, understanding and support they require.
For many people going to court may not actually be the best course of action for all parties. If the case gets to court the Judge has a huge amount of discretion over the outcome, which may not suit either party. With a range of legal alternatives available such as Collaborative Law, Arbitration and Mediation Referrals there is often a less stressful path.