Family law cases are unique; rather than being about the assertion of rights, they are about solving a problem ( i.e. how do we share our property/ children now that we no longer live together?) and because of this, the “win at all costs” approach of some lawyers and their clients only makes it more costly and harmful.
The merger of the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia commenced on the 1st of September 2021. The new rules and case management processes are aimed at modifying this “win at all costs” approach. In fact, they call for a new kind of family lawyer. You need to know, not all lawyers are the same in their approach and some behaviours do cause costs to soar. The court has now mandated a pre-litigation dispute resolution process aimed at alleviating the need for going to court. Your family lawyer is to:
- Communicate effectively in a resolution focused manner (discouraging aggressive and adversarial conduct by lawyers);
- Get to the real issues quickly. Avoiding irrelevant or non-genuine issues;
- Be realistic in making any claim and when making offers;
- Managing the client’s behaviour and expectations by ensuring they do the things they are supposed to; ensuring they make realistic offers to settle; ensuring they do not inflame the dispute and increase costs;
We are pleased with these changes in the law and support removing hindrances and unnecessary behaviours from an already difficult process.