The Co-op’s proposal, announced this week, is to provide family legal services via a national telephone line, combined with a pack of forms to complete. Only if you are in London will you have the option of meeting an advisor face to face. This has left me, as a family lawyer, asking myself if this is really how my clients want their family law advice provided, now and in the future?
I have been a family lawyer for over twenty years, and in that time have helped hundreds of people through the divorce process. Every single one of my client’s situations was different. I can honestly say not one of my clients has ever approached the demise of their marriage as being something that can be delegated to the status of a tick box exercise or something to be handled by a call centre.
Filling in the forms is the least of it. The real value from a family lawyer comes from the years of experience gleaned over many many years of helping others through the process. Of having support in how to deal with very real practical concerns of how to tell children and extended family that the marriage is ending, of how to access other resources that can be of help, of having an objective view to guide you through the myriad of options that are available when deciding how to approach a financial settlement and to act as an advocate at a time when even the most usually eloquent and intelligent individuals are struggling to collect their thoughts and advocate for themselves.
Is that really something that can be bought for £99 along with your family groceries? Personally, I don’t think so. And I don’t think my clients will think so either. I do hope clients don’t start coming to me for bread and milk…
To speak to us about a family / matrimonial legal matter please call Chester lawyer, Liz Bottrill in our Family team on 01244 305 922.