Everyone knows the difficulties of divorce & separation. Here are 5 things to know when you are separating.
You heard about your best friend’s divorce and how horrible that was but you also heard about your family friend who had an easy separation. It’s a confusing area to navigate because everyone has an opinion!
So what should you expect when seeing your lawyer for the first time and through the Family Law Process? Here are 5 things you should know.
1. Be prepared for your first appointment
We understand you will not have all of the information compiled for your first appointment but there are some details that will help your lawyer give you some initial advice, If you can, try to bring the following information with you for your first appointment:-
- Key dates (cohabitation, separation, divorce)
- Details of your assets and liabilities including superannuation
- Details of any children including what the current arrangement is
- You and your ex partners earnings
Also having a good idea of the history of the relationship is helpful. Many clients prepare a mini timeline of major events. This often helps jog your memory!
2. Negotiation is key
There will have to be concessions made by each party in Family Law matters. Both parties are unable to keep everything. So when going through the process consider what is actually important to you. Consider the cost of having your lawyer argue about a particular item in comparison to the cost of replacing that item. If its sentimental, your considerations will be different to the vacuum cleaner.
The ongoing nature of Family Law matters require parties to negotiate, either by way of letter, informal conferences or more formal mediations and conciliation conferences.
Its unlikely you will walk away with everything you want and the best way to finalise your matter quickly is to negotiate and be prepared to make concessions and agree.
3. Children are first
In children’s matters not only is the Court children focused but your lawyer should be too!. Don’t encourage other people to talk poorly about your ex-partner in front of your children, don’t speak poorly about your ex-partner to the children and don’t encourage the children to be negative about the other party.
Consider the effect these actions have on the children. Always encourage positive communication between the children and their parents, Understand that the separation is just as hard (if not harder) on the children as it is you.
If parties are struggling with being child focused, the Court can order parties attend various parenting courses for separating families. You can also attend these without a Court Order. They provide some insightful information and perspectives to help you maintain child focus.
4. Every matter is different
Don’t let your neighbour or your best friend’s sister tell you how your matter should be progressing or what you should be expecting by way of property settlement. Everyone’s matter is entirely different. You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you are going to rely on information from friends and family.
There are a multitude of considerations that go into both property settlement and children’s matters. The best way to get an idea of what you can expect by way of settlement is to be patient and once your lawyer has all of the information, they will be able to give you a good idea. As said above though, outcomes also depend on the ability for parties to negotiate.
5. Keep communication open with your lawyer
If your lawyer isn’t told about a change in time with the children or a party removing money from a joint bank account, your lawyer can’t do anything about it. Telling your lawyer about issues that arise throughout your matter is really important. Your lawyer may need copies of documentation or screenshots of information before they can contact the other party. The longer you leave these communications, the longer it can take to rectify an issue or to prevent further issues.
It’s also extremely important to tell your lawyer about important information which may have occurred prior to you seeing them. Did the other party withhold time with the children? Did your new partner move in with you? We need to know!
Your lawyer is on your side, and their job is to give you advice and support you through this process. Don’t be afraid to tell us your full story. We can’t advise you if we don’t know and sometimes small bits of information can change the advice. Expect to negotiate throughout your matter and make concessions along the way to help your matter move forward towards an amicable outcome. Of course, if the parties can’t agree, the Court is there to make decisions.
If you and your partner have just separated, Rudall & Rudall Lawyers have a team of Family Lawyers in Gawler, Tanunda and Adelaide to help you navigate through. Call us on 8523 8400 to make an obligation free first appointment at one of our three locations.