a timely reminder.

By Sarah Adams 21 November 2019

The importance of offering a viable alternative to your family issues ending up in the Family Law Courts. Essential reading for anyone in the process of separation or divorce.

we are committed to cooperative and respectful family separation.

So, whilst we accept that there will always be some family law matters that require a decision of the Family Law Courts, we believe our role is to give families another option.

To understand why Donaldson Law are determined to build a collaborative family law practice, we are drawing attention to the article published in the November issue of Proctor, ‘A family (court) affair’, written by Tony Keim after speaking with Family Court and Federal Circuit Court Chief Justice, Will Alstergren QC.

The article commences with a graphic description of the practical effect of bringing property and/or children’s matters before the Family Law Courts:-

‘Family Court… it is where complete strangers take control and make permanent, life impacting changes that result in the dismantling, restructure – and in some cases – the complete destruction of one of life’s most prized and valued institutions: our very own family.’

Once proceedings have been commenced, any family lawyer will tell you, resolution will not be achieved quickly. The media reports and it is acknowledged by His Honour Alstergren QC that there are:-

‘Very long delays for trial dates (often up to two years) in both courts and a shrinking pool of legal aid for family law matters.  Even after getting a trial date, there are often delays in judgements bringing closure – 18 months is not uncommon… There is an unrelenting workload, and an increasing workload, [in family law].’

Stories abound of those people who having been before the Family Law Courts, wish they could have resolved their family law matters another way. In our experience very few people, at the conclusion of their proceedings would be able to say that they were satisfied with the outcome, the time taken to get an outcome or the cost associated with obtaining judgement. In fact, His Honour Alstergren QC observed:-

‘A lot of people who are entrenched in the (court) system often want to find a dignified way out, because at the end of the day there is only one pool of funds… and property which are diminishing with legal costs; and those costs are sometimes more disproportionate to what they are fighting over and at other times it is not doing the kids any good the longer it goes on.’

At Donaldson Law we consider Tony Keim’s article to be a timely reminder of why we are committed to building a collaborative family law practice. Families deserve options. Our family law practice does not believe in taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach.  We believe that each separating family is unique and the process for resolving issues arising from separation should be tailored to that family. Not only do we believe in a tailored approach, we believe we can offer families amicable, respectful and and cost effective settlement options. For those families wanting a new way, a resolution focused approach to resolve issues arising after separation, our family law team are here to help.

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