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I am separating, what is going to happen to my money?

Family Law: 21 June 2023

Author: Dylan Chaplin-Burch - Our People

Most family law clients across my career have come to see me in a heightened state of panic and concern.

Usually, it is due to a marriage or relationship breaking down and the fear of the great unknown of what is going to happen to them next. The most important thing for people to realise when they are separating from their partner is that nearly all property matters settle before the Court makes a determination on their issues. What this means for you, is that you remain in control of your destiny (somewhat).

What to expect in your initial meeting

An initial meeting is a friendly discussion, firstly to understand how you are coping. Having been through a divorce and separation myself, I understand the internal turmoil people can feel and the anxiety which comes with that. Do not be embarrassed at all, we are here to help.

The next step after learning what your specific issues are, is figuring out how quickly we can resolve your matter for you.

Each family law matter has its own unique issues. No two matters are alike, and it is so important that each client’s specific needs are understood and dealt with accordingly. A family lawyer wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t listen to your specific needs and plan a strategy around your own personal circumstances.

That all sounds great, but how do you actually do that?

One of the great fears people have, is that their partner might go and speak with another family lawyer. Do not fear the opposing family lawyer. In some circumstances, that is the best thing that can happen. As a lawyer, we are trained to remove emotion and focus on resolution. Sometimes for people who are separating, it is near impossible to remove emotion, especially if one of the parties’ feels wronged.

The practice of lawyers has changed significantly in recent years (well at Aitken Partners they have). Nobody wins in circumstances where long drawn-out letters are being exchanged and with constant back and forth arguments between the lawyers.

What we try to do is get your matter, as quickly as possible, to a stage where we can have a mediation with the other side to resolve your matter. Some matters do not require a mediation if people come to us with an agreement (which is great) but for the ones where there is a dispute, we always suggest mediation as the best option to resolve your matter. Some matters take longer to get to the mediation stage due to their specific requirements, but we would hope that after coming to speak with us, you would be at the mediation table within 2 months.

Why a mediation?

A mediation is a cost effective and expeditious way to resolve your matter in a day. Rather than sending letters back and forward over a period of weeks, having a mediation helps to resolve issues that day.

Also, settling your matter at a mediation, means you control the outcome. It is a common expression that no party will win at a mediation. You will need to give a little bit, but my experience tells me that clients who are able to resolve matters themselves are the happier ones. This is, overall, the best outcome for you.

Final Steps

If your matter ultimately resolves, your lawyers will need to finalise your matter be either drawing up an Application for Consent Orders or if appropriate, a Financial Agreement. Both documents will end your financial relationship with your partner and assist you in moving forward with your life.

If you are going through a separation and want to have a chat to discuss your options, feel free to give me a call on 8600 6016 to have a no obligations discussion so you can focus your mind and move forward amicably and with dignity.

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