Over nearly 30 years I have watched in dismay the damage caused to litigants in the Family Court both physically, psychologically and financially. This isn’t because the Family Courts don’t do what they are required to do but because 95% of cases shouldn’t be in court in the first place. Most court matters settle (again 95% is the figure quoted most often) before the trial stage through negotiation, mediation and sometimes just plain exhaustion. You might ask “Why start court proceedings in the first place?” The answer is that litigation is often just not the answer in 95% of cases!
As all lawyers know Court outcomes in property settlements are very uncertain. The Family Law Act provides a discretion to Judges on how they might ultimately decide an outcome and lawyers can rarely give precise advice as to what you might achieve as an outcome at trial. The best a lawyer can advise their client in most cases is that “We can’t be precise but we believe that you are entitled to between x% and y%. That opinion is just that, an educated opinion, that at the end of the day may be wrong because Courts make decisions based upon evidence presented at trial and judges will place their own interpretation and importance on the evidence presented. In addition, all those emotional issues you think are important generally won’t mean anything to a Judge and will have little or no influence on the court’s decision.