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Divorce, unfortunately, has become a rather frequent reality in modern society with around one third of Australian marriages ending in divorce. In fact, as recently as 2016, Australia granted 46,604 divorces. In the case of divorce, separation, or even the new trend of “conscious uncoupling”, ex-partners are required to sort through finances, divide assets, and calculate contributions over the marital period. Couples with children have the added legal burden of determining custody arrangements for their children and child support, among other things.
Though, generally, you have the right to represent yourself in matters of family law, it is recommended that you seek the professional advice of an lawyer who has experience handling matters of family law so that your interests are best represented.
Knowledge & Experience
A lawyer trained and experienced in family law is going to be very knowledgeable about the intricacies of complex legal issues, potential loopholes, legal jargon, and the often strict time limits involved in family law cases. As a layperson, you may be able to quickly learn the basics of family law, but it would not be remotely comparable to the wealth of experience that a lawyer can provide.
What’s more, family law cases can be painful, stressful, and time-consuming, making it difficult for you to adequately represent yourself to the fullest extent. Despite your best intentions, you may allow your emotions over the deeply personal issues being debated to cloud your better judgement or cause you to succumb to the overall stress of the situation. A family law lawyer can provide an excellent support system and will bring a clinical professionalism to emotional situations in order to achieve the best result.
Counseling & Alternative Dispute Resolution
Due to the sensitive nature of family law cases, many ex-partners, especially parents, who are considering divorce are hesitant to drag their children through a potentially damaging court case. Many families try to avoid this entirely by seeking alternative dispute resolution. Luckily, many family lawyers have experience or training as counselors and are well-equipped to mediate, support, and negotiate family disputes. There are many benefits to Alternative Dispute Resolution, including: lower costs, greater efficiency, mutual satisfaction, decreased antagonism, increased mental-health, and a greater opportunity for closure.
This is especially important when a family law proceeding involves children. Whereas married couples who divorce may never have to see each other again once a divorce is finalized, ex-partners with children will be required to maintain a collaborative relationship for the duration of the child’s life. Alternative dispute resolution provides a far more collaborative way to determine the necessary childcare arrangements in a way which reduces bitterness and encourages cooperation.
When trying to find a family lawyer to represent you and your family, it is very important to remember that, just as every family is unique, so too is every family law case. Every situation is different and will have different needs based on the individual circumstances. However, even so there are two main characteristics that you should look for when researching family law lawyers Australia.
The first is that you are comfortable sharing with them. Though well-trained professionals, family lawyers are your first line of support during a possible painful case. Therefore, they should be active listeners, plain speakers, and understanding. Due to the personal and sensitive nature of family law subjects and the absolute necessity of sharing potentially embarrassing or uncomfortable details with your lawyer, it is crucial that you feel at ease doing so.
Second, they must be able to speak honestly and frankly with you. While it is important that a lawyer be sympathetic to you and your situation, they must still be able to give you tough news when necessary. Sometimes, a client may want to pursue a particular avenue of argument due to personal reasons, and it falls upon the lawyer to challenge them and make their expectations more realistic. A lawyer who deals with you honestly, rather than simply agreeing with you, is a lawyer who can be trusted to act in your best interests, even if that involves tough love.
If you are a loved one have family law needs or are considering a divorce or separation, contact one of our excellent family lawyers Australia if you have any questions. Protect your rights by getting a reliable family law lawyer in your corner to represent you today.