Couples Must Try To Reconcile Before The Court Steps In
When you are separating, it is important to obtain independent legal advice about your rights.
Your solicitor will tell you about the family dispute resolution methods available to you before going to court. They include negotiation, family dispute resolution, mediation, arbitration, collaborative law and child-inclusive processes. If there is a high level of emotional conflict or hostility, a power imbalance or domestic violence, some of these methods may be inappropriate.
Family Relationship Centres have opened in many places where people can have three hours of free advice and assistance about their separation issues. You may be referred for reconciliation or separation counselling or for mediation. In most cases, it will be necessary for both parties to attend at family dispute resolution or mediation with a registered family dispute resolution practitioner before they can start proceedings for parenting orders.
Often it is useful to reach a short-term or interim agreement on matters such as occupation of the home, where the children will live, how much time children will spend with the other parent and child support.
Separation or reconciliation counselling can help at this time. Once matters settle down and both parties accept that the separation will be permanent, it may be much easier to resolve the outstanding issues.
Your solicitor can help you by advising you of your legal rights, tell you which method of primary dispute resolution may be best for your case, and assist you to negotiate parenting orders or refer you to a counsellor or mediator.
If you must apply to the court, your solicitor will prepare documents in support of your application to establish that it is in the best interests of the children for the court to make the orders you seek, present your case or engage a barrister to represent you in court if it must go to a hearing, and help you to enforce or consider a variation of your parenting orders.
For more information or Family Law advice please contact Grant Hodgson.