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Getting a solicitor

If you want to take legal action against your partner, you'll need to find a solicitor specialising in family law to help you. This page explains how to find a solicitor and how you can pay your legal costs.

How do I get a solicitor?

You can find a solicitor specialising in family law through the Law Society of Scotland, the Family Law Association, or you can contact Scottish Women's Aid. You can also obtain a list from your local Citizens Advice.

Find out more about getting a solicitor.

What happens when I go to see a solicitor?

Before you go to see your solicitor:

  • Write down a list of all the things you want to ask. For example, you may have questions about:
    • excluding your partner from your home
    • keeping your partner away from you and your children
    • your partner's rights to see your children
    • whether you'll have to go to court and what to expect
    • divorce procedures.
  • Try and get someone to look after your children when you go to see your solicitor, so you can concentrate on what they're saying.
  • Ask a friend to come with you if you are nervous and need moral support.

It may help to bring with you:

  • proof of your identity, such as your passport or driving licence
  • proof of your address, for example, a recent bill or bank statement
  • your national insurance number and proof of income and any benefits you receive, so your solicitor can work out if you are entitled to help with legal costs
  • a copy of your marriage certificate, if you are married.

A solicitor can go over all your options with you and advise you on the best course of action. Remember, they are working for you. Their job is not to tell you what to do, but to tell you what you can do and help you make a decision.

How much will it cost?

Your solicitor will charge a fee for any legal work they carry out on your behalf, and if you are taking your partner to court, you may have to pay court costs as well. However, don't let the legal costs put you off taking action against your partner.

Some lawyers may offer an initial free interview, or you may be able to get free legal advice from a law centre - your local Citizens Advice should be able to tell you which lawyers provide this service in your area.

Can I get help to pay the legal costs?

As of 7 April 2009, around three quarters of Scottish adults are likely to be financially eligible for civil legal aid, so you may be able to get legal aid to help pay your costs. Your lawyer will be able to tell you whether you are eligible for legal aid and what contribution you will have to pay. Your partner's income and capital will not be taken into account when calculating whether you are eligible.

In order to apply for legal aid your solicitor will need to take a statement from a witness who can confirm your version of events. The witness can be a relative or friend or a professional person such as your GP. The witness does not necessarily need to have seen every instance of violence.

If you need your solicitor to act urgently, you may be able to get emergency legal aid.

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This content applies to Scotland only.
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