When you sit down with your family lawyer at the first consultation, we are doing many things:
• Gathering relevant facts
• Discerning instructions
• Identifying issues
• Applying the law
• Reality testing your instructions
And something also vitally important. Forming a case strategy.
In many matters that we deal with every day, there are elements of complexity but usually none so insurmountable that litigation in the Courts is the only answer from the outset. The queues in the Courts are long, often taking litigants a number of years to get through the system and to the point where they receive a judgment.
In resolution-focussed matters, we devise a pathway to get you from A, where you are now, to B, where you want to be. As part of that, we’ll tell you the most cost-effective way to get there and the issues that can lead to more fees.
We then apply the necessary tools from our experience and expertise to work towards the end game as efficiently as possible. When dividing assets after the breakdown of a relationship for example, there are steps to follow to get you where you want to go. This starts with working out the joint assets, liabilities, superannuation and financial resources, and the documents we need to fill in the blanks so there are no ugly surprises later.
Once we have a clear picture, we can then advise you on your range of entitlement if the matter was to go to Court, so you can make informed decisions on making or receiving offers. Once an agreement is struck, we can draw up the necessary documents recording the agreement within a matter of days.
When there is a willing party and/or a like-minded lawyer on the other side, this process can take place relatively quickly with little fuss. The less time us lawyers are involved, the more money you keep in your back pocket and can move forward onto the new chapter knowing this one is firmly closed.
If this is the way you want to resolve your family law matter, then us lawyers need to act accordingly at every step. Bringing an aggressive approach from the start and raising hot buttons in letters back and forth with no real net effect is not the way to get you there. These actions can damage any goodwill in the negotiation process and lead to an unnecessary increase in fees and more time delaying a settlement. It can also lead to a steep demise in the co-parenting relationship where children are involved which can have devastating consequences for all family members.
Doing what we do for as long as we have, we know the hills to fight for and those to take the path of least resistance on for each and every matter. We get to know our clients and what is important to them and discuss with them their options and how a particular course of action might play out. It would be difficult to understand how any client could give instructions on major issues to their lawyer without having this guidance.
Road blocks do arise in family law matters, but they need to be dealt with quickly. A proactive approach can often mean the difference between an issue snowballing and increasing the costs for both people involved, or being dealt with quickly so it doesn’t have a ripple effect to whatever else you are trying to achieve. An expert hand can make all the difference.
Sometimes, a firm approach or litigation is needed when all other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted. This is not open slather however and lawyers are charged with the task of progressing matters towards finality and narrowing issues wherever possible. Having read the comments of some Judges in recent family law court matters about the damaging and litigious approach taken by some law firms south of the border, it’s a stark reminder of the role us lawyers play.
Finding the right approach for you is paramount to resolving your family law issues sooner. If you feel that the approach taken by your current family lawyer is not quite right, talk to us. We will give you an honest appraisal on the current status of your matter and recommendations on how you could achieve your goals. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can be invaluable, consulting with a lawyer with a different skill set or who assesses your matter as needing different action or focus.
Shannon Daykin is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and collaboratively trained lawyer in Brisbane practising in all areas of family law. Shannon was recognised in the 2018 Doyle’s Guide listing of leading Brisbane Family & Divorce Lawyers practising within the areas of family law, matrimonial, parenting, property and spousal maintenance matters in the Queensland legal market as a solicitor who has been identified by her peers for her expertise and abilities in these areas. Daykin Family Law offers a reduced fixed fee initial consultation in person at our Brisbane office or by phone. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.