HM Insights

There is no I in team – choosing a family lawyer with the professional connections to help you

I am not generally a fan of motivational literature, but I recently came across a quote which led me to reflect upon the nature of my own work.

"There is no "I" in team". Family lawyers tend to see clients when emotions are running high and fears about what the future holds for them and their families are many. Family law, if practised well, involves working together to ensure that their interests are prioritised, aims identified and, hopefully, achieved. Successful resolution of a case often requires input from other professionals such as advocates, tax advisers, financial advisors and, sometimes, child psychologists and family therapists. Whether a case is about separation, divorce or issues around children, assembling the correct team can make an enormous difference not only to the way in which the case is resolved, but also to how a client feels as they go through the process. It is important to choose a family lawyer who has the expertise and connections to gather the best team for managing a particular case.

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In cases involving financial provision on divorce, it is essential that an experienced and supportive team is assembled whether that involves working with advocates, forensic accountants, employment prospect experts, or even just surrounding a client with a supportive team of family solicitors who they can work well with and feel supported by.

I was recently involved in a Court of Session action in which it was apparent that the right people for the job had been identified and instructed. The case involved complex business valuations requiring input from a forensic accountant. A tax expert required to be instructed to tell the court what the capital gains tax implications of a particular proposed settlement structure would be. There was an expert witness giving evidence about the prospects of a wife returning to employment after a long career break, which had been taken in the interests of the family as a whole. By the end of the case it was clear that the experts who had been involved in the case had worked well together and with the legal advisors to ensure that all bases were covered. Evidence was given with authority but was also accessible to the court and readily understandable to our client. Our client felt supported and that a job had been well done.

In choosing the solicitor who will help to guide you through what can be a challenging process it is important to think about not only their qualifications and reputation, but also whether that solicitor has the appropriate connections and experience to make sure that the correct professionals can be assembled to work together in your interests.

There may be no "I" in team, but in family law it is essential that the team focuses on the interests of the person at the centre of the process – you.

Amanda Masson is a Partner in Harper Macleod's Family Law team. She is accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a specialist in Child Law, Family Law and Family Mediation and regularly advises clients on child-related matters including child relocation, adoption, residence and contact.

Harper Macleod's team of family solicitors understands that divorce and separation can have a huge impact on your life, and can guide you through the best course of action with sensitivity and objectivity. Getting the best advice is crucial to resolving your situation, and there are many options available to you, from litigation and arbitration to negotiation, mediation and collaboration. We have also designed a number of packaged fees which, in certain circumstances, will let you know from the outset what the costs will be.

To talk to Amanda or one of our team call 0141 227 9545.