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When Friendly Family Law Advice Becomes Costly Advice

Separation and family breakdowns

Nearly everyone knows someone who has been through, or is going through, a separation or divorce.

You may have even been through one yourself.

Unfortunately, the breakdown of families is becoming an increasingly common occurrence in society, and more and more people each year are navigating the extremely difficult area of family law.

The impact of litigation

It is no secret that legal battles can become disastrously expensive. Drawn out litigation has been known to cripple families, and a life time of hard work and saving can be lost in the course of heated family law disputes. The emotional costs associated with acrimonious litigation can outweigh the financial costs in some cases, and these impacts can be felt across generations, with children carrying the scars of their parents’ legal disputes into their own relationships.

The best way to avoid the financial and emotional fallout from a family separation is to achieve an early settlement, which allows the parties to move on with their separate lives, and to maintain reasonable and productive communications for the benefit of themselves and their children.

Friendly advice

It is of critical importance for the parties to a family law dispute to have reasonable expectations about their options, and their end goals, from an early date following separation.

Friends are often of great support to people when dealing with the emotional fallout of a relationship breakdown, but unless they are an experienced family lawyer, their backyard legal advice can create significant negative consequences for a party who is navigating the legal process.

Example 1

Just because Karen’s friend got 80% of her matrimonial property pool, doesn’t mean thatthe financial entitlements of your property (financial) matter will mirror those.

You must remember that 80% of $100,000 is vastly different to 80% of $10,000,000, and no two cases are factually identical.

Karen’s friend may have received a large inheritance during the relationship, or she may be unable to work again and therefore needs greater financial security in the future, and these are often facts that are left out of the message when friends are advising you of your likely entitlements from your family law settlement based on snippets of another person’s case.

Example 2

Likewise, just because your mate Harrison spends 50/50 time with his children, does not necessarily mean that it will be in the best interests of your children to spend equal time with each parent.

It is important for young children to have stability and consistency in their arrangements, and it can be detrimental for a young child to be away from their primary care giver for longer periods of time.

A parenting arrangement for a 14 year old child is likely to be very different to that which is implemented for an 18 month old child.

These are just a small example of a vast number of matters which are considered in family law cases, and a realistic outlook about the case for each of the parties from an early date can save significant long term pain.

Realistic expectations

The expectations of parties can have a major role in determining whether a family law matter can be reasonably resolved through negotiations. It is hard for parties to move away from their positions if they become attached to certain views, and the longer someone thinks that they are entitled to something unrealistic, the harder it seems to be for them to move away from their unrealistic position towards a more realistic outcome.

This can create immovable roadblocks in negotiations, and may result in parties expending considerable financial and emotional resources to achieve a result in Court which could otherwise have been quite easily achieved, had they sought specialist legal advice from the outset. The difference in outcomes for a party who achieves an early settlement, when compared to that for a party who is engaged in a bitter dispute in Court, is remarkable.

There is great comfort in the certainty of a settlement, and well-meaning friends can create devastating consequences by giving advice which has no practical value in your situation, and which establishes an unrealistic expectation regarding a party’s rights and entitlements.

Why professional legal advice matters

We strongly recommend that all parties to relationship breakdowns, whether de-facto or matrimonial, take early legal advice from a specialist family lawyer to consider their rights, responsibilities and options.

Valuable advice can also be discretely given to parties considering the end of their relationship, so that sensible arrangements can be implemented at an early date in the lead up to, and following separation, to avoid an atomic situation developing.

Settlement should always be the main aim in a family law matter, and expectation management plays a significant role in achieving a settlement. An initial financial outlay on expert advice can save immense personal and financial costs in the long term.

Contact Us

Please contact one of our experienced family lawyers if we can be of assistance to you or your friends, colleagues, or loved ones.

We provide professional legal advice and representation in relation to your specific family law issue and circumstances.

Contact us today on  07 4637 6300 or you can contact us through our website.

We offer discounted rates on initial appointments.

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