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My advice about legal advice? Don’t Google it!

Living in a digital age means that information is quickly and easily accessible.  Everything we could possibly need to know is allegedly at our fingertips, as long as we have a mobile phone, tablet or some other amazing gadget in our hands. When faced with a question or a problem, our first reaction appears to be to ‘Google it’.

I embrace modern technology both at work as a family lawyer and at home as a mother of two. I admit that I am a ‘Googler’. Brazenly, when I want to prove that I am absolutely right about something and covertly, when I don’t know the answer to a question asked of me by my very curious eight year old.

As a society we seek out answers and advice online about issues that are very important to us and often of a sensitive nature.  We put our trust in the information we obtain and no subject appears to be out of bounds. So what’s my problem with seeking out family legal advice online?

When a marriage breaks down it can be an incredibly emotional and difficult time for all involved. It’s inevitable that the parties will want to have as much immediate information as possible.  How much will a divorce cost? Will I have to go to court? What will happen to the house? What about the children?

There are an overwhelming number of family law advice websites dedicated to divorce, relationship breakdown and all the linked consequences, such as children and financial issues. Information online is often generalised with a ‘one size fits all’ approach.  No two divorce or children cases are the same as everybody’s family circumstances are completely different.

Information is often published or posted by lay persons embroiled in their own personal dilemmas.  This is particularly so on forum type websites when users can log on and post information about their own circumstances and offer advice to others.  The advice given can be completely inaccurate, out of date or even (unbeknown to the reader) relating to another jurisdiction!

Acting on bad advice, particularly at the outset of a case could be disastrous and potentially have time and costs consequences later. Consulting a qualified family lawyer for advice as soon as possible will ensure that you make the best possible decisions from the outset and avoid any potential pitfalls.