How to Manage Your Family Law Matter
Get legal advice as quickly as possible
If you are about to separate, it is advisable to get legal advice as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have decided to enter into a major battle with your former spouse. Instead, it can help avoid a major conflict developing further down the track. Good legal advice will help you understand both your rights and responsibilities. It can also help you avoid any major pitfalls.
How should you communicate with your family lawyer?
It is important to understand that communication is crucial in any client/lawyer relationship. As a result, it is important to remember the following:
- Don’t avoid saying something because you are embarrassed about it. Most experienced family lawyers have listened to many stories, ranging from the heartbreaking to the hilarious. Your lawyer is there to help you. They are not there to judge you.
- Make sure you are upfront and honest, even if you have done something that you regard as ‘bad’. You lawyer’s job is to protect you and they need all the relevant information.
- It is important to remember that your lawyer is not your counsellor, so, even if it is hard, try to recognise the boundaries of the relationship. Your lawyer can refer you to a counsellor, if necessary.
Keep in mind the key principles behind family law
Family law matters are always stressful, even in cases where the decision to end the marriage is amicable. To make matters worse, the emotional stress associated with a breakdown of a relationship is often aggravated by the financial implications of separation and divorce.
The situation becomes even more complicated when children are involved.
Family law in Australia is based on two key principles:
- no-fault divorce
- that when deciding parenting disputes, the best interests of the child are the most important consideration.
At Monardo Solicitors, we are committed to these principles. We also believe that it is important for you to be aware of these principles because not only will it help you understand how the Family Courts in Australia approach divorce, child custody and property settlements, it will help you approach your relationship breakdown and surrounding issues with a cool head.
Any relationship breakdown is upsetting. You will probably feel that you need a great deal of support from family and friends. If you find you are not coping emotionally or psychologically, then you should consider seeking professional help.
At the same time, you should do your best to approach any negotiations that relate to the divorce, child custody and property settlement practically, rather than emotionally. Your objective is to achieve the best possible outcome for your family, especially your children. In short, it is not the time to be vindictive or bitter. It is definitely not the time for revenge. The best strategy is to focus on the future and building a new life.
In any legal matter, it helps if you are organised, especially in relation to any paperwork that may be needed by your lawyers or the court.
Ideally, you should handle as much of the administrative work as you can. This includes collating documents, making multiple photocopies of documents your lawyer needs and preparing chronologies.
First, it will help your matter to move forward as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Second, it will save you money in legal fees because your lawyer won’t have to charge you for the kind of administrative work you could have done yourself.
If you need to appear in court, what should you wear?
There is no formal dress code for parties appearing in court. However, it is important to dress in a way that is respectful. There is no need to wear a suit, but you can wear one if you feel comfortable doing so. Otherwise, it is fine to wear smart casual clothing.