The press has today published a report from the Legal Ombudsman citing that family law accounts for 17% of the complaints made by the ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 making it the most complained about area of law.
The examples given are of solicitors encouraging clients in acrimonious divorce proceedings to spend additional sums in litigation and not making clients aware of costs from the outset, nor advising clients throughout the matter if an initial costs estimate is likely to be exceeded.
It is well established that the breakdown of a marriage/civil partnership is one of the most stressful life events, second only to bereavement. If you are about to or have recently separated from your partner then you will probably find that well meaning friends and family are eager to offer advice as to what happened to them or to a friend of theirs and what sort of financial settlement they achieved. The law dealing with financial issues is however very broad on the basis that everyone’s financial circumstances are different.
There are huge changes in legal funding available for family cases coming into force in April this year. Legal funding (save in certain narrowly defined exceptional circumstances) will no longer be available for divorce, financial remedy and private children matters.
Coming back to work after a lovely family summer holiday is always busy! Perhaps a little frustrating today as many phone calls relate to difficulties between parents where contact between them and their children have suffered as a result of these difficulties.
Constantly I hear my fellow family lawyers worried about their future and their family practices. Many practices rely on legal aid and as we all know the government plan to remove legal aid funding for many areas of family law from May next year.