Do you know whether they are representing themselves or being represented?
In my experience it’s better to have representation. I got totally ruined when I represented myself and my ex had representation. But then he had a similar experience when he represented himself and I had representation. I think it’s because going it alone you don’t have all the knowledge and legal jargon that a solicitor/barrister has. It’s a lot of expense but I found it worth it personally. Just my experience we’ve been back and forth for 3 years. When they say it’s a final order that’s not always the case ours has been changed 4 times already.
There’s very little law involved with family law. A solicitor is unnecessary. Get yourself a McKenzie Friend – they know the law and are very cheap. They can’t speak up for you but they can tell you what to say and sit in court with you. Frankly, for ten minutes in court do you need to spend £2k or more These courts only care about the kids, not you, and resident parents have the kids, so they get better treatment – that’s the way it is and a solicitor can’t change that. In any case, you might have more than one appearance in court – it differs from person to person. Solicitors make money if a case drags on – it’s not in their interest to resolve your problems or solve your problems.
I have had experience of legal representation and being a litigant in person (LIP). If you are prepared to research and understand the correct process to follow in court then it is not in my opinion any worse being an LIP. The court takes a view regardless of your legal representation as long as you are seen to be complying with the court’s direction. Being an LIP v Solicitor does mean that the onus, rightly or wrongly, is often on the the professional to prepare bundles etc. Where children are concerned it is the individual that matters more. Court activity cannot substitute for being a parent actively involved with your children. That is the evidence required to be shown to the court. If you are literate then taking LIP approach helps show your true feelings and commitment to your children from my experience. As a compromise retain a solicitor for consultation but not representation in court.