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How to Prepare for an Initial Consultation with a Family Lawyer


Before your attendance at an initial consultation with a family lawyer you can take steps to prepare to ensure you get the most out of your conference.  Think about these key steps that you might consider  before the conference.

Understand Your Goals

Before the initial consultation, take some time to understand your priorities and clarify your own goals. What are the outcomes you are looking to achieve? By understanding your objectives, it will help your family lawyer to tailor their advice to consider your expectations and needs. [...]  READ MORE →

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Our Family Law Lawyers are always pleased to hear when parties who have separated have reached an agreement themselves or with the assistance of a mediator.

However, once the agreement has been reached parties should seriously consider formalising the agreement to ensure it is legally enforceable.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • To ensure the agreement is secured as a party can withdraw consent at any time if the agreement is not legally formalised.

Yes, this means that a party can agree, sign and commence actioning the terms agreed upon, but they could change their mind at any point. Most agreements, if not formalised properly are not legally binding. [...]  READ MORE →

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Music to any separation lawyer’s ears is the prospect of parties successfully participating in alternative dispute resolution. There are many forms of conflict resolution that can take place with some including:

  1. Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)
  2. Conciliation
  3. Mediation; and
  4. Arbitration

Family Dispute Resolution

The first process a separation lawyer will advise of (when the main issue is parenting) is Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). This form of mediation is conducted by a FDR practitioner rather than a mediator, arbitrator, or Judge. However, the role of an FDR practitioner is not to provide legal advice (as would a separation lawyer) but instead to ensure all parties’ concerns are voiced and in parenting matters that there is consideration of the child’s best interest. In fact, FDR is mandatory before parties can apply to the court for a ‘Part VII order’ which deals with parental responsibility and provisions relating to parenting orders. It is important to note there are a few exceptions to this rule in operation such as s 60I(9) which addresses instances of family violence. [...]  READ MORE →

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Mediation is often an essential part of resolving a Family Law conflict. However, mediations can appear to be overwhelming, especially in the context of a relationship characterised by family or domestic violence or in high conflict relationships. Is there a way to go to mediation without having to come into contact with the other party? Depending on the individual situation, shuttle mediation may be a suitable option.

Shuttle Family Law Mediation

In shuttle family law mediations, each party is separated into different rooms or locations (this includes in online mediations where separate breakout rooms are offered). The mediator moves between the rooms and conveys the other party’s statement as to the issues, ideas for progressing the case and any offers to settle the case. This type of mediation is aimed at maximising both parties’ safety whilst providing a means to discuss, and hopefully resolve, the case in a confidential setting. [...]  READ MORE →

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Why you should try Family Law Mediation

Resolving a family law dispute is often complex as parties are usually dealing with emotional and psychological barriers that stem from the domestic relationship in addition to the legal issues. Additionally parties can be in different emotional stages when moving forward from the end of the relationship and this can cloud a party’s ability to interact constructively.

Family Law Mediation is an opportunity for parties to communicate their ideas, concerns and proposals to each other in a safe environment. Particularly in instances of high conflict, it is very common for family law mediation to take place in shuttle. This means parties remain in separate rooms and can still communicate their views through the mediator without having to worry about being met with confrontation from the other party. [...]  READ MORE →

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Issues of Risk and Supervised Time in Child Custody Disputes: The Re Andrews Principle

Issues of risk in child custody disputes typically arise in circumstances of family violence. One solution that is commonly proposed to reduce issues of risk is supervised time. The purpose of supervised time is to protect the children from any unacceptable risk of harm. Time is supervised by an independent supervisor or a trusted family member or friend.

Supervised time may also be suitable in child custody arrangements where one parent’s caregiving capacity is impaired and supervised time ensures the child’s needs are met. [...]  READ MORE →

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Divorce Lawyer Explains the Steps You Can Take if You are Unhappy with Your Final Orders

If you are not satisfied with your Final Orders made by the Court, your divorce lawyer can provide you with some advice about your options of an Appeal. Appeals must be filed within 28 days of the Orders being made.

However, the filing of an appeal does not automatically stop the obligations contained in the Final Orders. As such, your divorce lawyer may advise whether it is appropriate to file an application to stay the Final Orders. If the application for a stay is successful, the Final Orders will not operate until the appeal is decided. [...]  READ MORE →

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Spousal Maintenance – Divorce Lawyers Explain How Much Is Reasonable

By Chloe Elkerton, Family Law Solicitor.

Divorce lawyers are often asked about rights to spouse maintenance. Spouse maintenance is financial support paid by a party to a marriage or de facto relationship to their former spouse after the relationship has broken down. The Court has the power to make an Oder for one party to pay spousal maintenance in circumstances where:

  1. One party is unable to support themselves and has an adequate reason for being unable to do so; and
  2. The other party is reasonably able to pay.

A question Divorce lawyers are often faced with, is, how much will I be required to pay?

In the recent case of Simpkin & Simpkin [2020], the trial Judge considered an application for spousal maintenance by a Wife who was in receipt of a disability support pension and was unable to work. On the other hand, the Husband was in a managerial position earning an annual salary of $240,000. [...]  READ MORE →

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How has Covid-19 affected Family Law Mediation?

Family Law Mediation is used by parties as a way of trying to resolve or reduce the number of issues in a family law dispute with the assistance of a mediator. The benefits of family law mediation are far reaching particularly when parties are able to avoid the considerable costs, time and stress associated with Court proceedings.

The onset of the pandemic saw parties, legal practitioners and even the Court having to quickly adapt to online and electronic means in addressing disputes. Family law mediations have been no different and in fact have proven to be a useful pathway to resolving matters over the online platform. [...]  READ MORE →

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What is the Role of the Mediator in Family Law Mediation?

Parties often attend family law mediation as an opportunity to try and resolve their family law dispute whether it be custody matters, property distribution or child support matters. However often parties can be confused as to the role of the Mediator in family law mediation and their part in assisting the parties in reaching a resolution.

The greatest misconception by parties is that the Mediator will provide the parties with legal advice. They will not. The Mediator must remain neutral and therefore will not advise either party as to the legal merits of their case. The Mediator’s prime role is to facilitate the family law mediation process in a way that enables both parties to effectively identify the issues in dispute and assist with generating options that might resolve these issues. [...]  READ MORE →

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Worried About Facing Your Ex at Family Mediation? Shuttle mediation may be an Option For You

Family mediation can often be a daunting experience. This is particularly so for those who are worried about coming face-to-face with an abusive or controlling ex-partner. However, did you know that there are alternatives to face-to-face family mediation? Depending on your individual situation, shuttle mediation may be a suitable option for you.

Shuttle Family Mediation

In shuttle family mediation, the parties to the dispute are separated into different rooms or locations. The mediator moves between each of the rooms and conveys the other parties viewpoints, ideas and offers. This may be appropriate for relationships characterised by high levels of conflict or domestic violence. Shuttle mediation is also a good alternative where Court Orders prevent the parties from being together physically. The aim of this type of mediation is to maximise the safety of both parties. [...]  READ MORE →

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Family Law Lawyers and Mediation

For most of those dealing with their family law matter through the Court system, it becomes apparent very quickly that you might be in this for the long haul and it won’t be cheap. With a currently under resourced Family Court, the excessive delays no doubt add to the stress of separating couples who want nothing more than to be able to move on with their lives. So, what else can you do to try and take back control of your future? Well there are many alternatives but a cheaper and often underestimated option is Mediation. Family law lawyers are able to assess your particular situation and advise whether mediation is suitable in your circumstances. [...]  READ MORE →