Picture this scenario:
You’ve separated from your ex-partner and you’ve tried to reach an agreement about what to do with the house, or the children, or both. Discussions have been unsuccessful.
You’ve been to see a mediator to see if they can help you and your ex-partner to sort out a long term plan. That hasn’t worked either.
You finally decided to instruct a solicitor to help you sort out your family law issues. Letters are being sent and received left-right-and-centre, but still you can’t reach an agreement. After months of trying, you are still no further along and you’re feeling like you will never get your life back.
Finally, your solicitor advises you to apply to court to resolve your dispute because then (one way or another!) your issues will be resolved once and for all.
You are nervous. You want to get on with your life but you haven’t ever had to go to court before. You don’t know what to expect, but you trust your solicitor – after all, they know your case inside and out, they have a detailed understanding of 'The Big Picture' and you know what to expect from them. You and your solicitor have been ‘in it together’ for months. In fact, you speak to them more often than you speak to your own mother. They have looked after you so far so you duly issue your court application.
You then receive a letter from your solicitor telling you the court has listed a hearing and they have booked a barrister to attend court with you. Questions flood your brain: What is a barrister? How much is that going to cost? How do I know I’ll like them? How will a barrister, a total stranger, ever get their head around my case and all the little details that might seem inconsequential but actually add up to a great big significant factor?
The truth is, any good solicitor will fully brief a barrister in plenty of time before the hearing and choose a barrister who they think will be appropriate for your case. Barristers are amazing at absorbing information quickly and building up an understanding of the issues. Although you might be apprehensive about using a barrister, by the end of the hearing you’ll feel like they know you and your family as well as your solicitor.
Trust your solicitor to do what is best for you. If you want to do your own research and choose your own barrister, have a conversation with your solicitor about that as early as possible.