Our expert solicitors specialise in fast solutions tailored to your particular needs. We provide a free initial meeting in which we can answer your most important questions and help you decide the best way to proceed and whether urgent action need to be taken for your protection.
Unlike many firms we don’t use Paralegals or other unqualified Advisors. Both of our solicitors, Helen Jackson and Nigel Rostance, have many years’ experience and indeed much of their new work results from recommendations from former clients or other professionals. At 1st Solicitors the same solicitor will be responsible for dealing with your matter at all stages and will represent you at any relevant Court hearings.
Our solicitors are both members of Resolution, the organisation of Family Lawyers committed to a constructive family centred approach. We will robustly promote your interests but we know that choosing the right procedure for you, whether that involves Court proceedings or not really does make a difference to the result, how long it takes, your experience and the cost.
We will act for you in the way that best meets your needs whether that is traditional legal representation, Court proceedings, Solicitor led negotiations, mediation, Collaborative Procedure or a combination of methods.
Our Family Law services are available in Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire and Newcastle under Lyme.
Our client’s tell us that they trust us to put their interests first. We can help with:
Working with You:
Perhaps our most important skill is listening to you. We know that every family has different needs and no one understands your families needs better than you.
We have been representing clients successfully through negotiated settlements and in Court proceedings for many years. Sometimes Court proceedings are the best, or the only way to protect your interests. In other cases, other options might be more effective quicker and cheaper.
We offer the following:
Legal Advice and Representation
We will advise you and deal with your partner or your partners Solicitor on your behalf. Court proceedings may be necessary if you and your partner cannot reach an agreement, if your partner is uncooperative or proceedings are needed for your protection or the protection of your children. The Court will impose a timetable manage the exchange of information and expert evidence and if necessary make the decisions that you and your partner are not able to make together. Legal Aid is now only available in very limited circumstances so many people do represent themselves but there is no substitute for legal advice to manage what can be a bewildering process.
This service is suitable for all clients. However, we represent you, we commit to advising you on the best service to meet your particular needs and with the procedure that best meets your case at the particular time.
Fixed Fee Preparation and Representation
We can offer fixed fees for a specific piece of work such as the preparation of a Separation Agreement, this will include advice and drafting the document.
Please note that fixed fees are not available in all cases but we are happy to provide them when they are appropriate and indeed we will recommend them to you if we believe that they are in your best interest.
Clients who only need help with a particular piece of work or a particularly hearing and/or clients who have a very finite budget.
We provide specialist legal advice on a pay as you go process when you need it. you may use this service when you need to get advice, on preparing your own divorce petition or other papers or in preparation for a Court hearing that you will be attending yourself.
You simply make an appointment and pay at the end of the session. You can use Advice Only as often as needed and you remain fully in control of the cost.
Advice Only may not be suitable for all cases and we do reserve the right to decline this service if we do not believe that this is in your best interest.
Advice Only is for clients who feel able to deal with a former partner or their solicitor directly or to attend Court without legal representation.
Clients who feel that they are “good with forms” and feel able to prepare legal documents with some advice.
Clients who need to control their costs may benefit from Advice Only.
Please note that we will provide this service only when we feel sure that it is appropriate to your particular case.
Collaborative Family Law
Collaborative Family Law has been described as divorce with dignity.
Only experienced Resolution members who are qualified Collaborative Lawyers can provide this service. Helen Jackson was one of the first qualified Collaborative Family Lawyers and a founder member of Staffordshire Collaborative Law, the local practice group of lawyers offering this service.
In Collaborative Procedure you and your partner make a commitment not to go to Court. Adopting a joint problem solving approach, you and your partner will be supported and advised in a series of face to face meetings. Over coffee and biscuits, we work together for the best outcome for your changing family. The business of exchanging information and evidence, exploring options and dealing with the legal paperwork are all done in these meetings.
Separating couples who want to take joint responsibility for making decisions affecting their changing family circumstances with complete openness and honesty. It is not necessary that you already have any measure of agreement or that you don’t expect the process to be challenging.
Clients with complicated financial arrangements may prefer collaborative procedure to mediation because legal advice takes place within the process.
We can also help with:
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Living Together Agreements
- Separation Agreements
- Child Arrangements (previously residence and contact)
1. How much will it cost?
Every case is different. All solicitors are obliged to give you an estimate of the cost of your case at the beginning and to review this periodically. Some fixed fees may be available for your case or for certain parts of your case.
Most solicitors charge according to an hourly rate. The hourly rate will reflect the qualifications and experience of your solicitor.
Our hourly rates are available on request and lower rates may be available to client who are on lower incomes.
If you want to compare the charges of different solicitors, do be aware that the hourly rate alone will not determine the cost of your case.
We do not provide a cut price legal service but we do believe that our charges compare well and reflect value for money.
We are more than happy to discuss with you how your case might be handled most cost effectively and we are always willing to make suggestions as to how costs might be controlled or minimised if that is important to you.
We offer a free initial advice appointment in which we will do our best to estimate the likely cost of your case.
Our fixed fees start from:
- Separation Agreement
- Pre-Nuptial Agreement
2. Do I need a Solicitor to get divorced?
Not necessarily. You don’t have to have a solicitor; this is a matter for you. the divorce itself might be quite straightforward and there is advice and information online at no cost to you. Most people will however need some legal advice to ensure that their financial interests and the interests of their children are protected.
3. Do I have to go to Court?
In most cases no. Unless a divorce or a dissolution of civil partnership are defended no one will need to go to Court. You will only need to go to Court if an application is made to the Court, for example to determine arrangements for the children or financial arrangements because it has not been possible to agree arrangements by other means.
4. If it is not my fault will I have to pay?
You will be responsible for the cost of your own legal advice. Orders for costs are rarely made in family proceedings, certainly not according to whose fault it is that the relationship broke down.
In simple terms, the Court will only make Orders for costs if one of the parties has behaved particularly badly.