I hope I can give you an insight into what I do and how I help people when they are often at their lowest point. When I meet people socially for the first time I am often asked “What do you do?” I usually respond with “Well I help people resolve family law issues without going to Court. I am a mediator.” I must say that usually gets a better response than simply saying “I am a family lawyer.” Few people have a fond memory of their dealings with the family court and usually want tell me how they were badly treated or let down by the court process.
Over the last 25 years I have watched in dismay the damages 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?” Litigation is often just not the answer in 95% of cases!
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 you should be told is “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.
Thinking of Separating
Our children are of course our greatest asset and deserve all the attention you can give them, even when you are separating. As I often remind clients and mediation participants “Its just not about maintaining good parental relationships with the children when they are under 18 years. It goes way beyond that. Children have 18th birthdays, 21st birthdays, go to university, get engaged, get married, have children, and yes they are your grandchildren.
The relationship you will have with your former spouse will go on for the rest of your life. Your children will respect you knowing that you did all you could to maintain a civil working relationship after separation for their benefit.”
Read the article Common Sense Divorce
Do you have a court order or parenting plan? Is the court about to make a parenting order? A Parenting Coordinator can help you manage conflict, resolve issues and educate both parents about how to move forward and co-parent in a healthy way.