Though finding a family law advocate is quite easy, there are literally dozens of them advertising their services on the Internet, and locating one who is right for you may involve a little effort. Most of us will only require the services of such a professional on a small number of occasions, but when you do, you need to be absolutely confident that the advice you receive is accurate and that you can trust the advocate implicitly. Perhaps even more importantly, I believe the person you select has to be someone you feel comfortable talking to about personal and emotive matters.

Family law advocates specialise in areas such as mediation, child custody and support, divorce and general advice, all highly emotive subjects, which is precisely why I strongly suggest that you should take your time when selecting one to represent you. I use the same process when looking for anyone to undertake skilled work for me. For example, if looking for plumbers or builders, search the Internet, make a list of ten or so candidates and then try to narrow it down to three ‘finalists’. By the way, don’t forget to check out social networking sites, there are highly skilled and experienced advocates such as Desmond Cheyne on Facebook and similar sites. If possible, I prefer to include professionals who have been suggested by friends, family members or work colleagues; there is no better form of recommendation, especially if the same name crops up more than once. Discount advocates whose offices are too far away, you don’t want to be travelling long distances when you are emotionally upset. Also, be sure to ascertain precisely what area of law each advocate is skilled in. If you are facing a custody battle, there is no point in going to one who specialises in emancipation.

making notes


Having whittled the list down to three finalists you should make appointments to see each of them in turn, not forgetting to make a note of questions you wish to ask. It’s always better to prepare a list in advance, because there is sure to be a crucial question you forget about until the meeting is over. I also suggest you take a notepad and something to write with; scribbling brief details of what is being said is important, especially when you come to make a comparison between the three advocates. When you return from the final meeting sit down and relax before going through the notes you’ve made. Remember to include a score for how comfortable you felt speaking to each of them and take that into consideration when making your final choice.


I realise that when familial issues arise it can be difficult for the parties involved to agree to air their differences to a third party, but in many ways it is easier to talk to a stranger rather than a family member or friend, whose views are likely to be biased. A good family law advocate should have the ability to make anyone feel comfortable and will take the time to ensure you are at ease and not unduly stressed. In cases where you are going through a process of mediation, for example, he or she should have the skills necessary to calm down both individuals if the debate becomes heated, and to remain detached and impartial.


Rather than wait for a family crisis to occur why not go through the process of selecting an advocate now? Hopefully you will never have to call on his or her services, but at least you will know whom to contact should any issues arise.