Going to Court for your family law matter can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful. Therefore, it is usually beneficial to settle before commencing Court proceedings so you can move forward with your life sooner with clarity and certainty.
Settling Your Family Law Matter
There are various ways you can settle your family law matter. You may settle through negotiations with assistance from a mediator, a family lawyer, or by directly liaising with the other party yourself.
Engaging a family lawyer can help take the stress out of the negotiation process because you can remain at arm’s length and let them diffuse any intensity and strategise to achieve the best result for you.
If your family law matter involves children, it is compulsory for you and the other parent to attend mediation and obtain a certificate from a family dispute practitioner confirming both parents made a genuine effort to resolve the dispute. One reason for this is because the stress of Court proceedings runs contrary to the best interests of the child, which is the most important consideration in the Court’s eyes.
If you and/or your child is at risk of family violence or child abuse, or the matter is urgent, you may be exempt from attending mediation. You should contact your family lawyer to find out how to participate in mediation, or if you are unsure whether you fit into one of the exceptions or not.
If your family law matter is for a property settlement only, mediation is not compulsory. However, it can certainly be a less expensive way of resolving the matter and prevent the property pool from becoming diminished through unnecessary legal fees.
Property and financial matters can often be complicated, especially when there is a large asset and liability pool, or if you are unsure of the value of any assets held by you or your partner. Engaging a family lawyer to stand in your corner during this process can make all the difference when trying to negotiate a fair and reasonable outcome for you.
Fighting Your Case
Despite genuine attempts to find solutions, sometimes it’s simply not possible to settle your family law matter. In these situations, parties have no choice but to go to Court.
Situations in which it may be more appropriate to commence Court proceedings include:
- If the other party’s offers are unreasonable and would place you at a disadvantage;
- If the other party is not co-operating or responding to your attempts to settle;
- If the other party refuses to compromise and find a common ground for settlement;
- In children’s matters, if the child is at risk of serious harm or neglect in the care of the other parent; or
- In children’s matters, if the child is at risk of not benefiting from a meaningful relationship with both parents.
Instead of trying to navigate the Court system and draft Court material yourself, having a family law solicitor to handle your matter is the best way to ensure you achieve the best outcome.