Family Law Solicitors in Welwyn Garden City
Our dedicated family law solicitors will help you resolve the practical, financial, and legal implications of your changing family situation.
We appreciate that family law matters can be sensitive or upsetting. Our experienced team of family solicitors will work with you, showing empathy and consideration for your individual needs.
As an established team of family law solicitors in Hertfordshire, we have excellent working relationships with other firms in the region. We will take a non-adversarial, constructive approach to family matters where possible.
Furthermore, we are members of Resolution and follow their Code of Practice. This means we promote a constructive approach to family issues and consider the needs of the whole family, especially children.
We are committed to helping families reach agreement outside of Court. However, if this is not possible, we take a calm, firm and robust approach to proceedings where needed.
Our priority is to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family, particularly where children are involved.
Table of Contents
- Meet Our Team of Family Law Solicitors
- Family Law Services
- What is Family Law?
- What does a family law solicitor do?
- Is it better to have a solicitor in family court?
- How do I choose a family solicitor UK?
- What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor in family law?
- Should you tell your solicitor everything?
- Your local family law solicitors
Meet Our Team of Family Law Solicitors
Our team of family law solicitors and assistants have an excellent reputation locally. We are proud of our depth and breadth of expertise and team-based approach to family law work.
- Danielle Peters – Partner and Head of Department
- Sian Churchill – Senior Associate Solicitor and Head of Public Law Sub-Team
- Sharon Montgomery – Partner
- Natasha Khakhar – Senior Associate Solicitor
- Janet Martland – Senior Associate Solicitor
- Lilas Kayani – Associate Solicitor
- Kerry Reynolds – Solicitor
The department is also supported by two trainee solicitors and three paralegals.
Family Law Services
We specialise in a range of family law services, including private and public funded matters. We are one of the few family and child law solicitors in Hertfordshire to cater to both private and public law clients.
Private Family Law Services
- Civil Partnership Dissolution
- Finance: including pensions, spousal maintenance and high-net worth assets.
- Nuptial Agreements
- Cohabitation Agreements
- Finance for unmarried couples
- Domestic Abuse – Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) – Mediation and Arbitration
Private Child Family Law Services
- Arrangements for children
Public Family Law Services (legal aid may be available)
What is Family Law?
Family law covers areas of work relating to the law that deals with all issues concerning families. These include divorce, finance, pensions, domestic abuse, children law, adoption, and matters relating to unmarried couples. The family law services that we offer at Crane & Staples are listed above.
Children law covers matters such as how children spend time with each parent. Most children issues are dealt with outside court. If court proceedings are necessary, a Child Arrangements Order may be applied for.
Additionally, children law includes advising clients if the local authority/social services have become involved with the family. This is where care proceedings may be issued, or Supervision or Special Guardianship Orders are made.
Crane & Staples is one of the few family law Solicitors in Hertfordshire to supply the full range of family law services for both private and public law.
What does a family law solicitor do?
The fundamental role of a family law solicitor is to provide advice to clients.
Family law solicitors may also represent clients in negotiations and court proceedings.
Most family law solicitors will specialise in particular areas, such as finance, or children law.
Family law solicitors who advise in domestic abuse will represent clients in court in applications for Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders.
Depending on the case, the family law solicitor may liaise with the other party’s legal team (or directly if they are in person), and the Court.
The family solicitor will advise on the options available to clients, including non-court-based options such as mediation. They will advise on strategy and likely outcome and costs.
The solicitor may also prepare applications, documents and statements for their client’s approval and filing at Court. They can attend Court to represent their clients in the Family Court.
A family law solicitor may act for a range of different parties involved in family proceedings. This could be either spouse in a separating couple, mothers, fathers, grandparents, or other relatives. Solicitors who are members of the Children’s Panel can also act for children, either through their children’s guardian, or directly.
At Crane & Staples, we have experience in acting for a diverse range of clients in all family law matters.
Is it better to have a solicitor in family court?
We strongly recommend that you instruct a solicitor during family court proceedings. Having a solicitor means that you receive assistance, advice, and support throughout proceedings. You will not need to deal directly with your ex-partner.
Do I need a solicitor or can I represent myself?
Family law is a complex area. Your family solicitor will have specialist expertise in these matters. With quality advice and assistance, you may achieve a more favourable outcome than attending in person.
Whilst you have the right to attend court in person without representation, we strongly suggest that you get legal advice from the outset of your case. At the very least, you should receive advice to help you understand the law and processes involved in your case and the costs of proceeding. You may then decide that you want to attend a hearing in person to address the court yourself.
How do I choose a family solicitor UK?
There are a variety of factors that you should consider when choosing your family law solicitor:
Expertise and Accreditations
If a firm specialises in an area of law, then this should place some weight on your decision to instruct them.
You may consider additional accreditations held by some solicitors. Resolution, the organisation for family lawyers, has a website that lists family solicitors with specialist accreditations here. You can find out more about the Resolution Code of Practice here.
The Law Society also accredits specialist family solicitors and members of the Children Panel. Obtaining such accreditations shows considerable experience and knowledge, verified by credible bodies.
- Resolution Specialist Accreditation – Sian Churchill (Children Law – public and private law), Natasha Khakhar (Children Law – private, Domestic Abuse)
- Law Society Children Panel – Janet Martland and Lilas Kayani
- Law Society Family Law Panel – Janet Martland
- Law Society Family Law Panel (Advanced) – Janet Martland
- Legal 500 – Danielle Peters, Sharon Montgomery
Recommendations and Referrals
You may instruct a solicitor following a referral from a friend or a professional who has experience working with the firm.
At Crane & Staples, we are proud that over 98% of our work comes from existing clients, recommendations and referrals.
Family Law Solicitors Reviews
You may consider checking review websites and looking at testimonials to help you choose the best family law solicitor.
We appreciate that clients going through difficult family situations may not wish to publicly write a review. Nonetheless, we regularly receive positive reviews and private feedback from clients and professional colleagues.
We are members of the Review Solicitors website. This website is specially designed to collect and display reviews for law firms around the country. Recent reviews from Review Solicitors are shown in the pop-up on the side of this page. You can also read our online reviews here.
Understandably, the issue of costs can be a concern for clients. The nature of family law proceedings means that legal fees can be high, especially if there are court proceedings. However, you should seek value for money. Initial or one-off advice can be also invaluable when making decisions about your next steps.
At Crane & Staples, we will explain our fees to you and provide you with clear costs information in your first meeting and throughout your case.
How much does a solicitor cost for family law UK?
The cost of a family law solicitor largely depends on the work they must do for your particular case. Your solicitor will discuss costs with you and explain these in your first meeting and throughout your matter.
At Crane and Staples, we offer an initial interview at a fixed rate of £300- £350, inclusive of VAT. This is an opportunity to advise you on your matter and provide a detailed cost estimate.
We can also advise on approximate costs for mediation services and other non-court options.
In the UK, legal aid is not available for most family matters.
Where there is evidence of domestic abuse, and the applicant qualifies financially, legal aid may be available.
Legal Aid in Care Proceedings
Legal aid is available in cases where the local authority is involved, and care proceedings may be/have been issued.
In care proceedings, legal aid is automatically available for:
- the child who is the subject of the proceedings
- parents or people with parental responsibility for a subject child.
This means that, regardless of a person’s income, they are eligible. Furthermore, if someone is a party to proceedings, but does not have parental responsibility, a means and merits application can be made. Legal aid may be available depending on their circumstances.
Legal Aid Eligibility
You should complete the government’s online workflow to determine if you are eligible for legal aid – https://checklegalaid.service.gov.uk/scope/diagnosis/
Legal Aid at Crane & Staples
Crane & Staples has a limited scope for Legal Aid matters. We can only act for legal aid clients who meet the following criteria:
- You have received a ‘Public Law Outline (PLO)’ letter from the local authority; or
- You have received a ‘Care Proceedings Issued’ letter from the local authority.
Both these letters will advise you to seek legal advice immediately.
- You have been joined as a party to Care Proceedings (such as you are an extended family member of a subject child) and the Court has asked you to find a solicitor.
If you are unsure if you are eligible for legal aid, please contact us on 01707 329333. We can advise you further or signpost you to suitable support services or other reputable firms.
Culture, values and style
You will get a feel for a lawyer and know if they are a good match for you following your initial appointment. It is important that can trust your solicitor and the advice they give you.
At Crane & Staples, our core values are Excellence, Empathy, Integrity and Community. We want our office to be a warm and welcoming environment and for our clients to have positive working relationships with their solicitors.
Our team of family solicitors will manage your case with care and sensitivity, whilst taking a firm approach if needed. You can find out more about our firm’s values and goals here.
With the option to use video call and online facilities such as Zoom, Teams and email, location should not limit your choice of family solicitor. Nonetheless, choosing a solicitor that is local to you does have benefits. If you prefer face-to-face meetings and a personal approach, you may wish to choose a solicitor whose office is near to you. If your case involves Court hearings, you may wish to choose a solicitor who can travel to that court to meet you.
Crane & Staples Solicitors are based in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. We act for family law clients based around the country. However, most of our clients come from the home counties and London. We are easily accessible by car and public transport, with good links to London. Our family solicitors are used to travelling around the country to meet clients and attend court hearings. We can be flexible with travel to suit your needs.
Conflict of Interest
As solicitors, we are bound by conflict-of-interest regulations. We cannot act for somebody where there is a conflict of interest with another client. This means we cannot act for a party in proceedings if we are already acting for another party in the same proceedings. Before you instruct us, we will conduct conflict of interest checks to ensure other parties involved in proceedings are not our existing clients. If we cannot help you for this reason, we can direct you to other reputable local solicitors.
What is the difference between a barrister and a solicitor in family law?
Essentially, you instruct a solicitor to act for you. In turn, the solicitor may instruct a barrister (also known as counsel) to attend court for you or give further advice.
Please note that many of our solicitors here are experienced court advocates. Whether the instruction of a barrister is necessary will depend on the complexity of the case and the decision to instruct would be made in consultation with you.
Most of a solicitor’s work is done in the office. Apart from providing all important advice to you, this includes day-to-day tasks such as taking instructions, preparing documents and letters, and liaising with the other professionals and parties.
A family law solicitor can represent clients in Court in the Family Court but must obtain Higher Rights of Audience to represent their clients at higher Courts.
Many family law solicitors will instruct barristers to represent their clients at hearings at all levels. The solicitor will prepare a brief for the barrister to ensure they have all the information needed to suitably represent the client in Court. The barrister will prepare the case and attend the hearing/trial to represent the client.
The family law solicitor will remain the client’s solicitor throughout this process.
At Crane & Staples, we have excellent relationships with highly respected and reputable family law barristers. We specifically choose and work closely with the most suitable barrister to provide each client with excellent legal representation, as well as proper support and a fully rounded service.
Should you tell your solicitor everything?
You should tell your solicitor any information that is relevant to your case.
Everything you tell your solicitor is confidential. Solicitor/client privilege means that your solicitor must not disclose anything you tell them whilst acting for you. (There are some very limited exceptions relating to financial crime and child protection).
You will get the best from your solicitor if you are open and honest with them. This applies to any family law issue.
In financial proceedings, it is important that you provide full and frank disclosure to ensure that any settlement is fair to both parties. If you fail to supply material information to your solicitor or fail to disclose it to the other party and the court, it could lead to an order being overturned in the future.
Experienced family solicitors regularly learn sensitive information about different personal family situations. If this sensitive information is relevant to your case, you should feel comfortable telling this to your solicitor. You can be assured that you will be treated with empathy and without judgement.
Your local family law solicitors
In conclusion, the family law solicitors at Crane & Staples are experts in a range of family matters.
As a result, we would be delighted to help you with your family law matter.