5 Steps to Resolution

Our focus is to guide our clients on the pathway to resolution in the most cost effective and timely way.

In simple terms there are potentially 5 steps along the pathway, some or all of which may be applicable in achieving resolution of a family law dispute.

1. EDUCATE

At our first meeting with clients we listen carefully as they describe their situation, and then assist them in understanding how the law would be applied in their particular circumstances. We also provide common sense strategic advice as to how to deal with any practical challenges they face. Sometimes after this session clients are able to proceed to negotiate with their former spouse, and if they can achieve resolution at this time it is certainly the quickest and cheapest way of resolving their problem.

2. NEGOTIATE

After listening to, understanding and then advising our clients as to the law, and practical problem solving strategies, we then recommend negotiation, either directly between clients, or by way of correspondence with the other party and/or their lawyer. We find many matters are able to be negotiated and resolved at this stage by correspondence.

3. MEDIATE

Sometimes as part of the negotiation process, either initially, or after an exchange of relevant financial information between the parties, we arrange a financial mediation to endeavour to reach a resolution through a mediated rather than adversarial process. We have found that with the right mediator, and with a constructive approach from the lawyers involved, most financial matters are able to be resolved at mediation.

4. LITIGATE

If negotiation and mediation have not been successful, the only option remaining is to take the matter to court. We appear regularly in the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court on behalf of clients. Our experience is that most matters that commence down the court pathway are still able to be negotiated or mediated as part of the formal court process. Unfortunately there are still a very small percentage of matters that need to go through to a full trial before a Judge before the matter is finalised.

5. STIPULATE

Once an agreement has been reached under either steps 1, 2 or 3 above, or once a final determination has been made through the court process, it is important for a number of reasons that any outcome be properly documented so that the parties have clearly defined, and understand, their rights and obligations. Often there are complex tax and stamp duties issues to be covered, superannuation may need to be split, properties may need to be transferred or sold, and it is vital that any outcome is final and binding and cannot be reopened later down the track.

What's the lesson from all this?

The important thing to remember is that that no two cases are the same, that the law is complex,  and the Courts have a very wide discretion to make decisions.  It's only when you go into the detail of the matter, and understand that some factors favour one side, and some factors favour the other, that one is able to predict the outcome through the courts.  Don’t rely on friends, family or Google. It is essential you obtain specialist legal advice from us about your particular circumstances. 

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