Anna Hunter,  Director at Major Family Law, the Leading Divorce and Family Law Specialists in the North East comments in Accent magazine:

When should I see a solicitor?

It is never too soon to seek legal advice on your situation. If you are wondering whether you should consult a solicitor, then the answer is almost invariably yes. If you seek advice from an expert, then they will not be afraid to give you one-off advice if that is what is called for, and certainly won’t strong-arm you into taking steps you’re not ready to take or incurring costs that aren’t necessary.

Knowledge is power, and armed with the correct advice and information at an early stage you are better equipped to make informed choices and to feel confident in making decisions about your own future.

But I want to save time & money

Why wait for your partner or spouse to make the first move before confirming your own position or entitlement? Early advice can shortcut the route to agreement and can save you time in determining whether the negotiations between you and your spouse or partner are fair and realistic.

Our clients find that an early investment in our advice proves far more cost-effective than instructing us at a later stage when differences or stumbling blocks arise and reduces a lot of the stress naturally arising from a separation.

What if we’ve reached an agreement between us?

If you have reached agreement between you, that is certainly a preferable route and will save a lot of heartache an expense. We still recommend that you seek expert advice on the terms of the agreement you have drawn up and we will assist you in formalising the agreement to make it legally enforceable.

I already have a solicitor but I’m not happy

If you have solicitors already but you are unhappy with the advice you have been given, the way in which they are conducting your case, or if you feel you are being ignored, then you should seek a second opinion.

If you are unable to speak to your solicitor when you need to; if you are offered appointments with junior members of staff rather than your original solicitor; if you feel pressured into taking action you’re not ready for; or if you feel your solicitor is being too aggressive and exacerbating the situation, these are all reasons to seek a second opinion.

Many people are unaware that they are entitled to seek advice from a second source or change solicitors once their case is under way. It is entirely possible to obtain a second opinion without your current solicitors needing to be informed. Then, ultimately, if you would like to switch, your new solicitor should be able to handle the transfer on your behalf without you even needing to speak with your current solicitors (subject to your account being paid up to date).

Doesn’t instructing a solicitor mean I’ll end up going to court?

One should not follow the other. Court should always be a last resort. At Major Family Law, our level of expertise makes us one of the leading family law practices in the North East. You can be confident that you are receiving top flight advice from a team with a record of over 80% of their cases being successfully resolved by way of negotiated settlement without ever needing to go to Court.

Enjoy total discretion in our relaxed and welcoming offices, which enjoy both free parking and access at the rear of the building.

Whatever your concern, be assured that we will give it our full attention so that you can move forward confidently and in control of your own affairs.

Anna Hunter is a Director at Major Family Law, the Divorce and Family Law Specialists, 12 West Road, Ponteland, Newcastle upon Tyne. T: 01661 82 45 82 Twitter: @majorfamilylaw